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Benti’s AIDS Policy

Joseph Benti’s article “Davis’ Death: Change AIDS Public Policy” (Sept. 23) does injustice to the truth by portraying the late Brad Davis as a victim, particularly considering Benti’s comment that “much of society"--meaning your readers--is blameworthy. That is akin to chastising us for limiting concern over “victims” of Russian roulette, for that is exactly what Davis played, and lost.

But even this analysis concedes too much to Benti’s position, for the financial commitment we have made to AIDS research and treatment has been staggering, and at the expense of other diseases such as leukemia or hemophilia.

Benti will forgive us for not yielding the moral high ground to those who contract AIDS as a sole result of their own behavior, especially when that behavior is either criminal or (in the view Benti impliedly ascribes to us) morally reprehensible, or both! Davis was neither forced by us to use drugs nor compelled to hide his “secret, deep, dark and deadly.” He made his choices freely, and he could not escape responsibility.

We justly condemn behavior like Davis’ yet compassionately commit huge resources to alleviate the consequences thereof. That is enough to exempt us from Benti’s scorn--or at least it should be.

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PAUL ROLF JENSEN

La Habra Heights


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