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Schwarzenegger's Affair Could Have Done More Than Produce a Child

By Candace Y.A. Montague

May 17, 2011

Behaving badly can cost more than child support. Credits:

Behaving badly can cost more than child support. Credits:

Actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger revealed that he had an affair which resulted in a child from a former staffer. The child was born 10 years ago and Schwarzenegger did not tell his wife, Maria Shriver, until earlier this year. The news came on the heels of their announcement to split up after 25 years of marriage. The regretful "Terminator" said that he "takes full responsibility for the hurt he has caused." While no one is perfect, causing harm and conceiving a child are really mild consequences in the scope of sexual health. Mr. Schwarzenegger could have, indeed, brought on even more harm from having unprotected sex.

I cannot speak about the infidelity issue (I'll leave that to Uku Mitchell). I can, however, speak about how carelessness can bring down even the most powerful people and compromise their health and the health of those they love. Schwarzenegger obviously had unprotected sex. The primary question that comes to mind as a health educator is, why didn't he use condoms? Extramarital affair you're-going-to-hell-for-breaking-your-vows aside, he could have contracted an STD or HIV and passed it on to his wife unknowingly.

Does having all that power make one believe that they are above being infected? There are over 160,000 HIV/AIDS cases in California. The Golden State is ranked 9th among the 50 states for syphilis. California is one of the few states that I have seen that requires students in grades 7 through 12 to be taught about HIV/AIDS by a qualified educator. There's really no excuse for not being armed with condoms during every single tryst.

I continue to be amazed by famous men who have unprotected sex and produce children (even Senator John Edwards and Rev. Jesse Jackson didn't get it). It seems like the message is "if she gets pregnant, I'll pay for it." Or "if my wife finds out, I'll just apologize." Ignoring the risk of STDs doesn't mean one is immune to them. And anyone can contract one regardless of their title, religious affiliation or political party. As for Schwarzenegger, if he came out of this STD free, he's very lucky man. Now that he's out of office, perhaps he has more time to grab a notebook and take a seat next to a California ninth grader during sex ed.

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D.C. HIV/AIDS Examiner

Candace Y.A. Montague

Candace Y.A. Montague

Candace Y.A. Montague has been learning about HIV since 1988 (and she has the certificates from the American Red Cross to prove it). Health is a high priority to Candace because she believes that nothing can come of your life if you're not healthy enough to enjoy it. One of her two master's degrees is in Community Health Promotion and Education. Candace was inspired to act against HIV after seeing a documentary in 2008 about African-American women and HIV. She knew that writing was the best way for her to make a difference and help inform others. Candace is a native Washingtonian and covers HIV news all around D.C. She has covered fundraisers, motorcycle rides, town hall meetings, house balls, Capitol Hill press conferences, election campaigns and protests for The DC and emPower News Magazine.

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