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HIV/AIDS Blog Central

Tiger Woods and HIV/AIDS, Revisited

A Video Blog

By Justin B. Terry-Smith

January 5, 2009

Many people had very strong reactions to the first post I wrote about Tiger Woods, on Dec. 23, 2009. The responses people shared drove me to make another go at this blog entry, so readers and viewers would better understand what I was getting at in the first place.

First let me apologize to all of my readers and watchers for even writing anything about this overly publicized affair. So here we are living in a world of HIV/AIDS and Tiger Woods reportedly has had affairs with around 14 different women.

In my opinion we shouldn't judge Tiger Woods on what he does in his private life as long as he is not hurting anyone or himself.

News reports share that his wife, Elin Nordegren, fears that Woods may have exposed her to HIV/AIDS and other STIs/STDs. Her fear of being exposed to HIV/AIDS and other STIs/STDS has come to the surface because Woods' mistresses claimed that he had unprotected sex with them. Nordegren has moved out and is reportedly ending her marriage; she is also said to want full custody of their children.

So why am I writing this? As an activist and someone who advocates for HIV awareness, I see the HIV story here. Presumably (hopefully!) behind the scenes Woods is getting an HIV test and many other STD tests. Nordegren is upset and has every right to be. Woods' behavior has changed her life and their children's lives forever and Woods put her at risk.

After losing major endorsements and sponsors, Woods has decided to make it easier for all the sponsors to back out by stepping away from golf. While this is potentially a good move, he still has to face reality: His behavior may have put him, his wife and partners at risk. How is it possible today that someone can irresponsibly have unprotected sex in total ignorance of the HIV and STD epidemic? Does Woods think HIV doesn't exist? Does he think he is immune? Clearly our HIV prevention programs have not reached him.

Regardless of his status, Woods could be a powerful HIV advocate. Everyone is fascinated by this story. But are they fascinated because a great sportsman has managed to fall from grace by promising monogamy and then obviously betraying this promise? His story shows how at risk many of us who are in monogamous relationships may be. This story is a powerful example of why routine HIV testing is important. Woods' wife probably did not realize how much at continual risk she was for HIV and other STDs. The most powerful thing in this world is to control life, especially your own. We need to make sure that all people know their HIV status because knowing one's status can be powerful. Tiger Woods can show responsibility by advocating for testing, being tested himself and encouraging others to do likewise. Thank you.

To contact Justin, click here.

See Also
Justin's HIV Journal

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Mike (Ottawa, Canada) Thu., Apr. 8, 2010 at 7:14 am UTC
Those posters that advocate privacy for Tiger forget two things:
1. If the risk he exposed his wife to is determined to be criminal, that is a matter of public record. I am not saying he should be prosecuted, but if the appropriate authority were to make that decision, then it would be in the public realm.
Second, Tiger can be said to have a different status than the average person because he derives his wealth in the public sphere on the basis of his actions. That is the basis of celebrity, and why it is such hypocrisy when famous people want to trade on their public persona when it is to their benefit, but claim privacy when they want to. They can't have it both ways - and if they make their living from their public status, they have to accept the cost that they live in the public realm. In fact, it is dependent on his public status, and thus is a matter of public interest.
Since it is the public nature of the spokesperson that attracts sponsors to athletes (like Nike to Tiger), they also play a role in advocating the lifestyle choice of those athletes. Nike, therefore, is making a statement on it's corporate stance on adultery and STD in its continued relationship with Tiger. No one can force ME to think otherwise.
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Comment by: Jasper (Boston, MA) Tue., Apr. 6, 2010 at 12:29 pm UTC
This latest comment that Tiger has not killed anyone angers me. If this man were a woman perhaps he would feel the danger Tiger now is. He IS potentially a killer, just as anyone potentially is as long as the HIV still is on the planet. At this point we don't know that he hasn't killed anyone.
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Comment by: Julia (Cincinnati) Mon., Apr. 5, 2010 at 3:20 pm UTC
Thank you so much for writing this. I am always amazed how the mainstream media never talks about STD's and HIV when discussing celebrity affairs. That is the first thought I always have. Tiger put his wife at a very high risk and I'm sure she probably at the very least contracted HPV from his promiscuity. She obviously was not have protected sex with her husband b/c they had 2 children together during this time. I wish the media would step up and put this part of the story on the front page! Thank you again.
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Comment by: NYCAccountant (New York, NY) Sun., Feb. 21, 2010 at 6:47 pm UTC
Justin B. Smith is 100% correct. Tiger Woods needs to get tested and make his results public immediately. The silence and shame associated with HIV is why we are still dying from it in the first place! Right from the start of this epidemic, if everybody had been open and honest about their status (like disclosing that you have hay fever) and got tested annually, HIV would have already disappeared. Poz people would just hook up with other poz people. Done. But having Tiger keep his medical results private just reinforces this "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" mentality that stops people from getting tested and stops people who are poz from announcing it to others. Tiger could do a lot of good by going public.
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Comment by: Dan (Athi River ) Sat., Feb. 13, 2010 at 1:40 am UTC
TW will have to test and wait out the window period to know his accurate status.This he mostly owes to himself and should be private unless he decides otherwise!Waiting out,whether 3 or 6 months is quite an experience and it doesnt help to torture him further by discussing his scenario.
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Comment by: May (Nairobi, Kenya) Mon., Jan. 18, 2010 at 9:28 am UTC
There is no need to torment TW further with such a ridiculous 'pronouncement' as it is he has suffered enough both at a personal and public level. The lesson learnt from this hugely publicized indescretion is that HIV/AIDS prevention awareness campaigns all over the world may have had little impact in changing people's sexual behaviour and that's where attention should be directed at right now and not TW's private life period!
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Comment by: Maria (Pakistan) Fri., Jan. 15, 2010 at 2:10 am UTC
I think whats important to remember, and this is for all of us, HIV/AIDS does not 'DISCRIMINATE', it knows no boundaries, no color, cast, religion, social status,ethnic background. Lets not look at every person who we want to be with as though they are virgins, lets look at that person as though they have already been around, male or female, married, unmarried. I think that will put enough fear in us not to have unprotected sex. Sorry this is a case of guilty until proven innocent.
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Comment by: niky (houston) Tue., Jan. 12, 2010 at 6:57 pm UTC
i would said tiger wood is get test if you got it keep penis safe next time you have sex any way an if you dont you learn lesson and if you going keep lay that wood keep smooth not buries
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Comment by: J. Lessard (Maine) Sat., Jan. 9, 2010 at 6:43 pm UTC
I'll say it again...none of the public's business. This is a private personal matter between the parties involved...end of story.
@ G in San would "assume" that Elin was not choosing to have unprotected sex with Tiger...well, it is just that...your assumption. You don't know anymore than anyone else about what she did or did not know. You chose to not express your opinions about public disclosure, and in my original post, I chose to not make assumptions about the relationship he had/has with his wife and what knowledge she herself had of anything. I can appreciate youo have a point of view that stems from your own personal experiences, and I do not fault you for your opinion. Please do not fault me for mine. I replied to a particular part of the blog post, just as you did!
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Comment by: Ndungu (Kenya) Thu., Jan. 7, 2010 at 2:42 am UTC
I concur with you Justin. HIV does not spare one regardless of his/her achievements. Tiger has been absolutely magnificent in the golf arena but like other great sportsmen he has succumbed to the "curse of the loins". In this era of HIV/AIDS i don't understand how Tiger would have engaged himself in unprotected sex with with all these women and this exposes his naivety. The element of personal responsibility is very important here and i think Tiger was endangering the life of his wife Elin. No one should think he/she is immune from contracting HIV in this deadly era. Many of us who are HIV activists thought it could not happen to us but we later got a rude shock when the reality sank in. All in all i think underneath Tiger is a really nice folk and sth just terribly went haywire in his relationship with Elin. Let us not hit him below the belt because as humans we all have our "little failings" and we all need to see him doing what he does best when playing golf because truly he is a legend in the golfing arena.
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Comment by: Michelle Sobel (Denver, CO) Wed., Jan. 6, 2010 at 5:47 pm UTC
We help people get tested for HIV and other STDs privately. On January 12, 2010, we'll offer free HIV testing for everyone at The Tiger Woods story has distracted the nation from the serious subject of sexual health.
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Comment by: Tom H (Chicago, IL) Tue., Jan. 5, 2010 at 5:13 pm UTC
Check out the latest issue of Vanity Fair for an article about TW. Apparently, the image of him as a fine, upstanding family man and wonderful husband was almost completely manufactured so that he could earn a LOT of money. He is worth a few hundred million, and he is clearly NOT the man he appeared to be to the public. He will never get the same endorsement work back, and his wife is going to get a lot of his net worth. As my father used to say about unethical or bad people, "Don't worry, Tom; they'll get their comeuppance."
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Comment by: Frank (Wash DC) Tue., Jan. 5, 2010 at 4:20 pm UTC
Not your business.
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Comment by: christopher (florida) Tue., Jan. 5, 2010 at 11:50 am UTC
I do agree with the unprotected sex is bad but don't porn stars get tested regularly?
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Comment by: J (NC) Mon., Jan. 4, 2010 at 10:12 am UTC
While I agree with you that Tiger should not be out there having unprotected sex, it was also the choice of the ladies who had the affair with him. I disagree that his test should be public as that could scare people away from getting themselves tested.

The best resolution from this situation is for the media to let the situation go and stop broadcasting all his business. But this is America and we all know that the media isn't going to let it go.
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Comment by: Bill L (London) Sun., Jan. 3, 2010 at 7:28 pm UTC
To Justin B. Smith

In your opinion Tiger Woods has his own life and we shouldn't judge him on what he does in his private life as long as he is not hurting anyone or himself. But you turned around violently impose him to get an HIV test! This is outrages!

Shamelessly, your comment has invaded Tiger woods' personal life. Your comment is extremely judgemental on him hurting everyone on the forum and Tiger himself.

None deserves HIV/AIDS either other STIs/STDS, but your stance is too low regardless that you really worried about sexual disease transmission.
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Comment by: Alfredo (Madrid, Spain) Sun., Jan. 3, 2010 at 12:01 am UTC
What I find totally unacceptable is that somebody in this case you, think to have the right to request a "public test" and a "public" disclosure of Tiger Wood's HIV status. The only one who can make such request is his wife and the mistresses if they feel now in danger after having unprotected sex by their own choice. All this must be done in private and never under the preassure from people with no connection with the problem. I think that you are invading their you think that Tiger Woods should also make public his test results for hepatitis and every other infectious disease he could have? Would you suggest him to send us a letter or maybe publish his HIV results on the New York Times?
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Comment by: Jonas (Sweden, Europe) Sat., Jan. 2, 2010 at 12:21 pm UTC
OMG are you serious? This is one of the most stupid things I have ever read in this affair. And from a person living with hiv. I really think you should be taken off site. You apparantly are confusing lots of things and are just as prejudice and judging as many others who talk about hiv and about people with hiv. Why should anyone of these women not tell Tiger if they had hiv? By assuming this you yourself put the same stigma on people with hiv as so many others do. And why do you assume that pornstars are hiv-positive? If Tiger Woods have had unprotected sex and maybe exposed himself to hiv (and then maybe his wife) its a very private matter, I cant undersatnd why he should tell the would. He should tell his sexual partners. And as for the question of crime, I thought that exposing some one for something you dont know you have wasnt illegal, and are they not two in bed? You must try to be more correct and logical before you post your blog. You cannot just talk and then think.
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Comment by: Mary (Jacksonville, Fl) Sat., Jan. 2, 2010 at 10:48 am UTC
NOT FAIR!!!! Was your test done for the public? Tiger's private life is just that, private.
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Comment by: Nishant (Jalgaon, SL) Sat., Jan. 2, 2010 at 4:06 am UTC
I'm rather surprised after reading your article. You should first understand that Woods is just like all other beings and is regretting his mistakes. Does it really makes any sense to make his reports public? What you are saying is direct interfere in somebody's life....
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Comment by: sd (ny) Fri., Jan. 1, 2010 at 9:39 pm UTC
Please.. He is doing what most men do in this world.. Have sex, unfortunately in this case reckless sex. The only difference is, that he is rich and famous and got caught.
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Comment by: Clyde (Sacramento, Ca) Fri., Jan. 1, 2010 at 3:54 pm UTC
What really needs to happen is that we all need to let this die. There is an issue of confidentiality for not only Him but his wife, and all of his hookups. That is why here in Ca. we have PCRS. Should he at some point work to educate people of the risks associated with risky behavior?? Yes. Will he? That remains to be seen. What does Magic have to do with this?? Magic has done the right thing for himself and the cause, so well so that millions of people think HIV/AIDS is no big deal--just take a pill and get on with your life. Remember those that live in glass houses, ought not throw stones. My hope is that some good will come from all of this but we of all people, ought not act as if we are righteous. Very very few of us got this disease by someone else's hand, most of us invited it in our lives by complete ignorance, or belief that we were above it somehow. Tiger surely has similarity to this. Let the dust settle and then we as fan or foe will see what kind of man he is. It is not ours to judge, anymore than it is society's to judge us. Also remember when you test, there is a 6 month's window from last risk that should be cleared. Your intent was good, I just think some of your ideas have not been explored and tested well enough to be worthy of publishing in a forum such as this. I know that I have made plenty of mistakes in my life, before and after diagnosis. Guess what I still do. I am the one that has to live with them, and hopefully turn them in to useful tools for the greater good. When I look in the mirror today, I realize that I am the one I answer to and have to sleep with at night. Don't blame Tiger or anyone else for your plight. Help your fellow, and he will be there to help you.
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Comment by: Camille (Vancouver, BC) Fri., Jan. 1, 2010 at 3:43 pm UTC
Justin B. Smith,
I want you to know that I am HIV+ and your article scares me. It is rife with the ignorance, bigotry and misunderstanding of the worst of our detractors and yet you are a "representative of our cause".
I realize that it takes courage to be a public spokesperson and that the things we say sometimes don't come out right and so I commend you for choosing to speak up and I encourage you to continue to do so despite this blunder.
HOWEVER, your right to be heard carries a great responsibility and you have deeply failed it. You only have to read the responses to this post to see that your words are hurtful and dangerous.
It is simply not enough for you to apologize briefly as you have and act as though the readers are at fault for misunderstanding you. You must own up to what you have said and apologize to all HIV+ people (including yourself!) for expounding the kind of stigma and fear that is a very real threat to the dignity and human rights of HIV+ people everywhere. What's worse, you have done this in a place where we expect to find support and solace from these abuses.
I suggest that you rewrite this post after some research and a lot of thinking.
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Comment by: Mark (Michigan) Fri., Jan. 1, 2010 at 3:33 pm UTC
Public Test?! Absolutely not! If he decides to get tested that is his own business and the results are his confidential medical information. The only time results need to be shared is if they are positive and then it is only with potential sexual partners...other than that he has no obligation to tell anyone.
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Comment by: Miguel A (Guadalajara, MX) Thu., Dec. 31, 2009 at 10:06 pm UTC
I think that is not your business man
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Comment by: Raheem (New York) Thu., Dec. 31, 2009 at 8:44 pm UTC
Shut up! You are just as nosey as that old woman on Golden Girls. I could care less about Tiger Woods HIV status unless it affects me (which it doesn't). You are advocating nothing more than being a tabloid junky. I thought you were intelligent at one point. Again, I must admit I am wrong for that assumption!!!
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Comment by: Jack. Z. (San Mateo CA) Thu., Dec. 31, 2009 at 6:53 pm UTC
I don't understand why you say that Tiger has to go public. Everyone involved should go public if that's the case. We don't know if Tiger had an open marriage with his wife or maybe his wife is HIV+ or if he had safe sex or non safe sex. Why all the hub bub about something that goes on in this country every single day?? We are an over sexed country and add millions of dollars to that "celebrity" adding gas to fire. HIV is not a death sentance anymore and this stigma has to stop. Remember the case of the kiss that transferred the virus from one person to the other because of a root cannal and the other had bleeding gums? After safe sex for 2 years in a UCSF study, my wife became +. This story made news around the world but they never used our real names. Maybe you can learn something from the CDC?
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Comment by: Johnny (New York, NY) Thu., Dec. 31, 2009 at 2:38 pm UTC
Don't agree with you. I'm shocked to hear that you feel he needs to do things publicly, no good!
I thought that you, of all people, favor anonimity. Maybe Tiger in all of his escapades played it safe and used protection. At least think of that possibility first before bringing his name up on this forum as if he's guilty of something. Your words have that same ring of comdemnation as the words of those who accuse gay people for being HIV +.
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Comment by: toddo (dd) Thu., Dec. 31, 2009 at 12:04 pm UTC
It is good idea. let us get his result publicly. so that others could get the best lesson that STDs/HIV do not know discrimination.
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Comment by: Kat (New York City, NY) Thu., Dec. 31, 2009 at 11:41 am UTC
I think not only should he be tested but he should also become an advocate for safe sex and HIV prevention. HIV does not discriminate and he clearly was acting careless and had no thought about what he was doing to his family.
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Comment by: Kevin (Washington, D.C.) Thu., Dec. 31, 2009 at 10:25 am UTC
If Tiger were to disclosure his status and was positive he would have well over 14 lawsuits demanding millions of dollars. Please tell me how that would help Tiger or anyone who just found out that they were positive. We tell people to get tested and then we turn on them when they find out that they are positive. HIV has been around since the very early eighties. Everyone should know how you get the disease. It is everyones responsiblity to protect themselves. Tiger did not rape any of the 14 women.
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Comment by: Harvett (East Cleveland, OH) Thu., Dec. 31, 2009 at 8:34 am UTC
Justin, I am sorry but you are wrong about Tiger Woods showing his test results. The only people who needs to know are his family and sexual partners (after, before, and during his marriage). Tiger Woods doesn't owe me and most certaintly don't owe him.
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Comment by: Ken (Orlando, FL) Thu., Dec. 31, 2009 at 7:20 am UTC
I wish that rather than digging into the personal lives of our "public" figures, the media would use their transgressions to inform the public of what could have happened.
Go through a DUI Counter Attack class some day and learn what the laws are for driving under the influence can bring in Florida, or what ever other place you live.
It would have been a chance for the media to educate the public - not only on DUI but also HIV.
Just another missed opportunity to do good rather than just 'air dirty laundry' for their ratings.
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Comment by: Justin B Smith (Washington DC) Thu., Dec. 31, 2009 at 7:08 am UTC
Again, I do apologize to all of you but I'm simply saying that to exonerate himself so he is not arrested he should. I do agree it's nobody's business except for the people he has had sex with. Sorry for not putting that in my post I do again apologize to everyone that was offended
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Comment by: John (Netherlands) Thu., Dec. 31, 2009 at 4:53 am UTC
Hi Justin. I am a big fan of your blogs and pos myself but in this case i dont agree. His medical status is a private thing although is a public person.
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Comment by: Douglas (Miami Beach, FL) Thu., Dec. 31, 2009 at 4:12 am UTC
Why expect him to publicly reveal only his HIV status? Why shouldn't he have to say if he has any other STD?

This is a ridiculous position to take. Tiger Woods's HIV status is not the public's business.

It's also factually incorrect to suggest that he might have committed a crime. For that to be so, he would have had to have known in advance that he's HIV-positive.
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Comment by: Chepi (Gaborone, BW) Thu., Dec. 31, 2009 at 3:26 am UTC
Well its a pity that in speech there is too much room for misunderstanding. Justin is touching on sesntive matters that are best left to personal judgement.As for the WOODs they have have an issue on their hands. HIV is their issue that they must address as a matter of priority. I ffel they need time and good thought. Mrs Woods needs a cool head even when the tiger is wounded. Who knows the sex life of Mrs Woods? Is she clean? Is the Tiger the only one who has ever tasted her? May be this issue will never end well but let the two sought themselves out.
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Comment by: Manu (EU) Thu., Dec. 31, 2009 at 3:01 am UTC
Being a public figure means you can be an important roll model to many which already can be a burden. It doesn't mean you have no privacy at all! Doesn't your wish only confirm the existing stigma that you must have been a very moral less person to have contracted it? You want to have his head on the scaffold to confirm this? Please let's not point fingers! It will only aggravate talking openly about hiv.
Or do you want to question men's [sexual] behavior in general since many contract hiv in a relationship by their own [unfaithful] spouses? The pope must be happy with you!
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Comment by: Robert (Tanzania) Thu., Dec. 31, 2009 at 1:46 am UTC
I have heard so much regarding Tiger Woods and his infidelities and I am frankly sick of how the press has blown up this man's indiscretions into full page tabloid news. To demand that he get tested and reveal his results to the public is a violation of his human rights. I think his human rights have been violated more than enough by the press and critics all around. Should he get tested? Probably yes, but that is his own personal choice and his alone. He should not be crucified in the press and before the public to satisfy our morbid curiosity and our sense of propriety. It is traumatic enough to discover one's status as positive without having it forcibly paraded before the public. Would it be believed if he said he was negative? There will always be nay sayers. Let him wrestle with his own demons in his own way. No forced testing, and no forced disclosure.
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Comment by: Alan (Washington DC) Thu., Dec. 31, 2009 at 1:38 am UTC
All I say is this should be his and his unprotected sex partners problem to deal with , anyone agree to do that is partially guilty , so why one should blame him on his actions whether he is HIV Positive or not.If you really care about yourself (or anyone) just get the necesarry precautions and stop blaming the others while you still enjoy the same kind of pleasure which we call sex and unprotected...
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Comment by: Mark (Jacksonville, Fl) Wed., Dec. 30, 2009 at 9:19 pm UTC
I understand Tigers former wifes concerns. It would be beneficial for her to know. That being said, Tigers former wife needs to find out her status for herself. That is an obligation each of us must assume.
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Comment by: Alex (Los Angeles, CA) Wed., Dec. 30, 2009 at 9:08 pm UTC
Tiger's HIV status is nobody's business except his and those he has had sex with. While I admire your courage in blogging about your status and journey, not everyone is obliged to go public about their status (poz or not)--and, yes, that goes for public figures like Tiger. He made a string of mistakes, which has proven nothing more than he is as human as you and me. He should be allowed to pick up the pieces of his life without demands from the peanut gallery for public restitution. Let's not forget, most of us became HIV positive because we made at least one colossally stupid mistake we wish we could redo. Let's give the guy the break that we are so quick to demand for ourselves. And to second what J. Lessard said, Tiger was not the only one having sex here--and HIV travels both ways.
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Comment by: Janet Kitchen (Davenport. Fl) Wed., Dec. 30, 2009 at 9:03 pm UTC
I am too am HIV+ and the same thoughts on Tiger. He is a walking HIV poster. i In 2009 that should have been his first thought. I believe he needs to get tested and let the world know his resulsts. Perhaps this will send a message to men and women who are also high risk for HIV/AIDS. Unprotected sex and multiple sex partners is the leading cause of HIV/AIDS.
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Comment by: MAS (LA, CA) Wed., Dec. 30, 2009 at 8:23 pm UTC
The only person Tiger needs to tell if he does take a test, is those he had sex with. He owes me nothing.
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Comment by: Thorner (New York, NY) Wed., Dec. 30, 2009 at 8:17 pm UTC
In spite of the opinions expressed that Tiger Woods needs to publically disclose his current HIV status, and put a "glove on his wood" (wear a condom), none of this is the public's business. If we don't like or respect Tiger Woods we have a choice of not supportting his sport, or boycotting his sponsors' products. I wonder how Justin B. Smith acquired HIV. Was Justin a IVDU, did he have unprotected sex, or through the transfusion of blood products? Was Justin called out to disclose to the world his sero status? While there may be a time and place for disclosing sero status, No one has an obligation to make this a public declaration; to think otherwise is nieve or ignorant.
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Comment by: Asha Arie (Kingston, Jamaica ) Wed., Dec. 30, 2009 at 8:05 pm UTC
Are you serious - That NOT only should Tiger Woods have a HIV test but also disclose his status to the public? Whose business is the status of Tiger Wood's HIV status?

For one, apart from the woman who have email and messages to prove the affair, which of the other women has any evidence to back up these claims.

At another level, the folks who are calling for this Mosaic act, did y'all demand this of your mates or better yet did you all do this when you were made aware of your sero-positive status?

The article smacks of self-righteous hypocrisy at one end and a sort of self-serving "misery loves company" voyeurism at the other. In due time, his wife and whomever else will know their statuses. If she thinks she needs to, she can make that call, and even so he does not have to comply.

In the interim, all others, CHILL!!

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Comment by: Todd (Sioux Falls, SD) Wed., Dec. 30, 2009 at 7:44 pm UTC
I read your article and I am appalled! This babble sounds as though it comes from someone who is totally uninformed and heartless. I am flabbergasted that this would come from someone who is himself afflicted with this hideous disease. To say that it is the public's right to know about private health issues is insane. If a person has cancer, is he obligated to tell the public? If he has any other affliction known to man, is he obligated to inform the public? The answer is a resounding NO!!! Why is it then that you feel that because it is HIV/AIDS that the public has a right to know. When he gets tested (and I am sure he will if he has not already done so), and if he turns out to be positive, I am sure the appropriate people will be informed. The appropriate people would be those whom he may have infected. They would then be encouraged to get tested themselves if they have not already done so. That is where the obligation to disclose should end. It is not anyone else's business. I am shocked that you of all people do not know or get that!!!! This kind of thinking is exactly what will keep people from being tested, and thereby perpetuating this disease indefinitely. I find your comments narrow minded, ignorant, and dangerous! The public looks to people such as yourself to gauge what is acceptable to think and believe on this subject (HIV/AIDS). That is why I believe you are dangerous. Those same uniformed, narrow minded people can now hold you up as an example to justify their own bigoted behavior. YOU ARE HELPING TO PERPETUATE THIS DISEASE.

SHAME ON YOU JUSTIN!! You should know better.
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Comment by: Keith (Ca) Wed., Dec. 30, 2009 at 7:42 pm UTC
Medical records and test results are a private matter between a patient and the medical team involved.
Responsibility lies with the patient to always practice safe sex.
No - Tiger Woods tests and results are Tiger Woods. The only ones who have a right to know are the sexual partners who he was involved with.
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Comment by: Cynthia (Jacksonville,Fl.) Wed., Dec. 30, 2009 at 7:19 pm UTC
I agree with you that Tiger Woods and his wife should be tested for HIV/AIDS, but I disagree that they have an obligation to release that information to the public. As you stated, he and his family are entitled to their privacy and should not be judged. With that being said, why is it the business of the public to know whether or not he is positive or not?
As a newly diagnosed individual with HIV, I have told my children and a few close friends. Everyone isn't so open minded about dealing with those who are positive. Most are simply ignorant to the facts, treatments, and transmission of the disease. I have never used illegal drugs, nor have I been a woman who slept around. Now on the other hand, I was married to a man who slept with any woman he could bed and by the time I actually found out, I was already positive. People with HIV/AIDS are stereotyped as promiscuous or ex-drug users and that is just not a true fact. I only hope that people will seek the information necessary to understand the disease and it's toll on the lives of those infected. They don't seem to realize that after a diagnoses of being positive, your life changes. Never to return to the way it was.I do not wish to divulge my status to everyone I come in contact with, therefore I feel Tiger Woods and his wife should be tested but their results are their business and no one else's. Besides, if he does turn out to be positive, the health department will notify his ex-partners and advise them to also be tested.
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Comment by: "O" (Youngstown,OH) Wed., Dec. 30, 2009 at 7:17 pm UTC
Hey Justin man,I am a great fan of yours. But this blogg bothers me because I don't see the need for Tiger to tell the world about his statues. The only people that need to know are those he engaged in sex with. Also like Lessard said if he is what if one of the women gave it to him. That's how I got caught up my first time having sex with a woman.But, I still love your work.
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Comment by: jim (boston) Wed., Dec. 30, 2009 at 6:39 pm UTC
Since I haven't had sex with Tiger Woods he owes me and the rest of the general public exactly nothing. The only people to whom he owes any explanation of his health and sexual habits are his family and sexual partners, all of whom, unfortunately, seem to be intent on profiting as much as possible from his foibles.
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Comment by: Martin (UK) Wed., Dec. 30, 2009 at 6:28 pm UTC
I'm slightly stunned by this post. Firstly, porn stars are regularly checked for STD's in order to work, so in the general scheme of things, they are probably more aware of their sexual health status than the vast majority of the population, straight or gay. Secondly, as J. Lessard points out, it's not solely Tiger Wood's responsibility if one of his partners turns out to be HIV positive. If he were to test positive, HE has been infected by someone else, presumably as an "innocent party"; all parties have to take responsibility for their actions. He can only be arrested if he KNOW's he's positive and then deliberately infects others. Many thousands of people across the world are HIV positive and don't know it. One could say it's criminal that people who are sexually active with multiple partners don't get themselves tested regularly, but it doesn't make them criminals. My partner is positive, I'm not, but when he told me I pointed out that I assume everyone is HIV positive and act accordingly. That doesn't mean I won't ever get infected, but I take responsibility for my own actions. I realize it's different for a married couple and his behaviour may seem despicable, perhaps more so because of the squeaky clean front he portrayed, but I really think, under ANY circumstances, plastering someone's medical history into the public domain is utterly wrong and doesn't do much for the image of people who are HIV positive. And once again, we're not just talking HIV here, there are plenty of other STD's which are far easier to catch and like the Hep's far more damaging than HIV in some cases.
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Comment by: G. (San Francisco) Wed., Dec. 30, 2009 at 6:15 pm UTC
To J. Lessard (Maine) -- Yes, you are correct, the 14 mistresses (or whatever they were) also chose to have unprotected sex with Tiger Woods. (If that was indeed the case.) However, you seem to be leaving out the main point of the original post, and that was in regard to Tiger Woods' wife, and his two young children, especially the infant. Because I would assume that Elin Nordegren did NOT chose to have unprotected sex with a man who was having affairs with 14 other women. I would assume she thought she was having unprotected sex with her husband, within the confines of a monogamous marriage. As do most married couples. And so what Tiger Woods did to his wife -- and possibly his children -- was unconscionable. (Whether they ultimately were infected or not.) If somebody wants to f*ck around, I do not judge them. Go to it! But continuing to have unprotected sex with your wife (which he was obviously doing, since they recently had a baby) WHILE you are f*cking around with 14 other partners is horrendously irresponsible, completely idiotic, and totally insane. Whether or not ANY person needs to publicly disclose their status is a whole different discussion I'm not going to enter into. However, your response seemed to indicate that even Mrs. Woods (Erin) somehow also bears the brunt of her own exposure, or her children's, which is an outrageously flawed and ridiculous conjecture. All people, whether famous or not, whether gay or straight, whomever/whatever they are, owe it to their partners to be honest and upfront. Tiger Woods' irresponsibility in this area is something I will never be able to forgive him for, no matter how good his golf game may be. By the way, in case you were wondering, I was infected by a long-term supposedly monogamous partner to whom I had been married for decades, and who was not honest with me about their own extramarital affairs. So I speak with some experience.
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Comment by: Jay (Indianapolis,IN) Wed., Dec. 30, 2009 at 6:08 pm UTC
Disclosing medical history should be a personal decision. I don't think you or anyone else has the right to tell anyone they need to disclose their medical history. It's fine for you to help others and I appreciate your intent. But you need to stick to just that (helping others) and stop trying to tell people how to conduct their personal affairs. Have a nice day.
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Comment by: Harvett (East Cleveland, OH) Wed., Dec. 30, 2009 at 11:07 am UTC

This comment is to Richard, I am so sorry that you have HIV, my grandmother was infected with HCV (Hepatitis C genotype 1) from surgery to save her life. I have to agree with you. These "God" fearing Christians need to stop with the passing of judgment. I stood up for someone who was homosexual (unfortunately I had to use my fist and I was called a non-christian for doing so)I believe religion can sometimes cause the stigma of disease to spread (all disease)if they would stop for a second and realize that it can to anybody, they wouldn't pass so much judgment.
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Comment by: Justin B Smith (Washington DC) Wed., Dec. 30, 2009 at 9:28 am UTC
I was saying it would probably be best for him to disclose so he is not arrested for suspcion of intent of bodily harm. I don't want him arrest and I was just looking out for Woods best interest but I do definately understand everyone's point.
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Comment by: SHH (NYC) Tue., Dec. 29, 2009 at 6:10 pm UTC
I am not really sure why you think Tiger Woods needs to tell the public the results of his medical tests....... I can't seem to follow your logic.
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Comment by: Richard (Tulsa OK) Tue., Dec. 29, 2009 at 1:46 pm UTC
I was diagnosed in 2004 with AIDS...after becoming sick with PCP. My wife and I had just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary! I had never had sex outside of primary care doctor researched my medical history and discovered that I had a blood transfusion in 1982 (before the start of blood testing for HIV). My Infectious Disease Doctor also noted that I had a very early strain of that has so far remained "undetected" with the aid of the new drugs available. My wife has remained "not positive" (as are our children)even though we didn't use protection since I had a vasectomy in the early 80's. It's still hard for me to believe that I have this disease... everyday I think about what damage this disease has done to my body. AIDS is not something I care to discuss at my workplace, at church or to the general public...AIDS is not like cancer or TB...people don't understand the disease and I believe it's better not to disclose your personal medical history except to your very close family members. I'm looking forward to celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary in a few years and hopefully enjoy a few years of retirement soon after that. I wish Tiger Woods
well but if he is infected, I hope that his wife and children remain "not positive" (like my family) and that they all can enjoy life with it's various up and downs! I am weary of individuals stereotyping all HIV people as living "evil lifestyles". I think the state of OK could be called the buckle of the 'bible belt'! I am weary of being judged by these "God - fearng and God - loving Christians". Christians must preach God's truth, authority, existence and His relevance to human history! All this "preaching" must be done in a spirit of love and not in harsh judgemental tones. I also believe each person's relatinship with God is very personal and as such is not open to judgement or condemnation by others.
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Comment by: J. Lessard (Maine) Sun., Dec. 27, 2009 at 9:50 am UTC
It's none of the publics business if Tiger Woods is/is not hiv positive. No matter what I think of his actions (affairs), he does not alone bear the brunt of responsibilty in protecting his sexual partners. These women CHOSE to have unprotected sex with him...that's on them! and regardless of whether or not you agree with his actions on a moral level, if you want his status disclosed publicly, then so should too the statuses of all the women he slept with be disclosed publicly. You wrote, "If one of these women takes an HIV test and comes up positive, Woods can be arrested for suspicion of infecting that woman with HIV." You seem to be leaving out the fact that "one of these women" may have already been infected, placing Tiger himself at risk. Does he then get to have her arrested?
I appreciate the "intent" of your post, but it seems quite one-sided with underlying judgements being made...not written, yet inferred!
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Comment by: John (Saint Paul, MN) Fri., Dec. 25, 2009 at 9:02 pm UTC
This is what people just don't seem to get-- the sooner one gets the HIV test, the sooner that they can be treated if they have the virus. I was diagnosed early and it has been to my benefit. Some people think that they can wait til they show symptoms. Unfortunately, though, at that point the virus has already wreaked a great deal of damage upon the immune system.
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Justin's HIV Journal

Justin B. Terry-Smith

Justin B. Terry-Smith

Justin B. Terry-Smith, M.P.H., may be one of the most public African Americans living with HIV: He has his own website, and he's even on YouTube. He is a noted HIV and gay civil rights activist and the creator of "Justin's HIV Journal," a popular blog in which he shares his trials and tribulations of living with HIV. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Justin resides in Laurel, Maryland, with his husband, Dr. Philip Terry-Smith, and their son, Lundyn. Presently, Justin is working toward earning his doctorate in public health. He welcomes your questions.
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