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Curiosity from L.A (lower Alabama)
Feb 22, 2000

Dear father,

Just writing to ask about the latest news concerning priests having the Aid's virus in the Kansas area. I have a priest as a close friend and I was just wondering how this could be so. Any in sight on the matter. Would appreciate anything you can tell me. No rumors just the truth. Vettegirl

Response from Father DeMartini

Dear Vettegirl, Thank you for your inquiry. The article about priests and AIDS which appeared in the Kansas City Star generated quite a bit of media interest. Unfortunately, there seems to be a preoccupation with the "how" a priest could have become infected with HIV which leads to all sorts of assumptions about orientation, celibacy and the like. There was even the statement that priests are more likely to have AIDS than the general population. This brings up the old notion of risk groups which continues to foster discrimination as well as complacency on the part of those who don't belong to or identify with the risk group. All in all, in my seventeen year experience as a priest and educator in the Church, the reality of priests and religious contracting the virus simply attests to the fact that as humans who might be intentionally or unintentionally involved in risky behaviors they can become exposed to HIV. I always hope that every person no matter what their vocation, ethnicity, age or orientation would understand that making healthy and responsible choices can prevent further spread of HIV. Blessings, Fr. Rod

Faith, HIV and heartbreaking stories
aids among catholic priests in America

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