On Not “Shaking Hands” . . . or, HIV *does* discriminate

On I-20 between Augusta and Columbia, there’s a billboard that says, “Unlike some of us, HIV doesn’t discriminate,” and it presents the statistics of what a person’s alleged risk for HIV is.

This reminded me of something I read on Facebook a while back. I’m not sure if this is a true story or not, but IIRC, it was presented as such.

A Catholic parent was at a parent-teacher conference where the topic of discussion was sex education and STD prevention. During the formal meeting, the Catholic parent tried to ask why abstinence and chastity were not included in the curriculum. The teacher scoffed at this, and the other parents laughed. The Catholic teacher was rather annoyed and offended, and stopped to say anything else lest she say something unkind. Instead, she prayed for guidance to say the right thing at the right time. When it came time for socialization, feeling out of sorts and out of place, the Catholic parent remained in her seat when everyone went back to socialize.

“Before you start greeting each other and shaking hands,” the teacher said, “We’re going to perform a little experiment. I have a bowl of slips of paper. I’d like each of you to take one out and put it in your pocket, but don’t look at it yet. Then please feel free to go around the room and greet the other parents, and shake the hand of each person you talk to.”

After the meet and greet session, the teacher asked them to pull out their slips of paper. Everyone’s paper was blank, except for one father, whose paper said, “STD”. The teacher said, “Mr. X, you have an STD. Now, let’s say that the hand-shaking was sexual intercourse. Would everyone who shook Mr. X’s hand raise your hand.”
All the parents who shook his hand raised their hands.
“You are all at risk for contracting an STD,” said the teacher. “Now, think about everyone whose hands you shook *after* you shook Mr. X’s hand.” Eventually almost every parent had their hand raised.

“See, in our little exercise, everyone is at risk for an STD. It’s not just about whom a person has sex with, but whom they had sex with previously, and who their partners were with, and so on. Everyone is at risk. Everyone who’s sexually active must be concerned about STDs.”

Then the Catholic mother spoke up. “Not everyone,” she said.

“Why not?” said the teacher.

“I’m not at risk because I didn’t shake anyone’s hand.”

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