Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Washington Post Features

December 5, 2012

When revealing HIV status turns deadly

Cicely Bolden, 28, was a mother, a twin sister, a daughter and a friend to many in Dallas.

"She was born one minute after me, so I grew up protecting her. We had this bond. Her life was my life," her twin, Chelsea Bolden, told The Root. "My sister wasn't perfect -- she liked the drama -- but she was a good person and a really good mother."

Cicely Bolden also happened to be HIV-positive, diagnosed almost two years ago. But her life didn't end because of health issues related to AIDS. On Sept. 6, her married boyfriend, Larry Dunn Jr., stabbed her to death, claiming that she had sex with him and didn't disclose her HIV status until after they were finished. Her two children, ages 7 and 8, discovered her body lying on her bedroom floor.

In a recorded police interview, Dunn stated that her alleged deception made him so angry that he ran into the kitchen, grabbed a knife and stabbed her. Dunn, who is currently being held on $500,000 bond, told detectives, "She killed me, so I killed her."

Sadly, no doubt many of you are thinking -- thanks to some salacious headlines and the brutal debate being waged online -- either Bolden deserved it or, while you don't condone what Dunn did, you understand. But before we rush to judgment and blame the victim, let's fill in some gaps that haven't been addressed.

First, having sex with someone HIV-positive doesn't automatically mean that you will contract HIV or die, as Dunn suggested, especially if you use condoms and if the HIV-positive person's virus is suppressed by medication. Second, how do we really know that Bolden waited to disclose?

Bolden's sister told The Root that Bolden was up-front about her status and that she wasn't ashamed of it -- even her children knew. And while it may be hard for folks to wrap their heads around it, there are plenty of HIV-negative men who knowingly and willingly have sex with HIV-positive women.

Text Only
Washington Post Features
  • Search teams will send unmanned sub to look for missing Malaysian airliner

    Teams searching for a missing Malaysian airliner are planning for the first time to send an unmanned submarine into the depths of the Indian Ocean to look for wreckage, an Australian official leading the multi-nation search said Monday.

    April 15, 2014

  • DayCareCosts.jpg Day care's cost can exceed college tuition in some states

    Most parents will deal with an even larger kid-related expense long before college, and it's a cost that very few of them are as prepared for: day care.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • 10 tips for surviving a severe allergy season

    My colleague Brady Dennis reported recently that the arrival of warmer weather will soon unleash a pollen tsunami in parts of the country where the winter has been especially long and cold. Here are some survival tips from Clifford W. Bassett, an allergy specialist and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine.

    April 9, 2014

  • news_twitter.jpg Travelers fly on Air Twitter

    The enlightened age of social media has dawned over the airline industry, casting shadows over telephone call centers and on-site agents. Facebook and Twitter are racking up the friends and followers while the hold music plays on.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • To get quality care, it helps to be the right kind of patient

    I am a family physician. Sometimes I must step out of the comfort of my clinical role and into that of patient or family caregiver. Generally, these trips to the other side of the exam table inspire a fair amount of anxiety.

    April 8, 2014

  • Fast, cheap test can help save lives of many babies

    As Easley did more research into her daughter's death, she learned that a pilot program had started just months earlier at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md. (Easley had delivered at a different hospital in the Washington area.) The program's goal was to screen every newborn with a simple pulse oximeter test that can help detect heart problems such as Veronica's, allowing doctors to respond.

    April 8, 2014

  • At many leading schools, football fails to make cut

    To my astonishment, 67 of the top 100 schools, ranked by participation in college-level tests, said they do not field a team, denoting a shift in American high school culture, at least in those schools that challenge their students most.

    April 7, 2014

  • pizza-300x216.jpg VIDEO: Pepperoni, extra cheese and...pot?

    A Vancouver pizzeria has added a unique item to its menu: Customers with a prescription can order pizza infused with marijuana.

    April 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • For April Fools' Day: A sampling of scientific hoaxes over the centuries

    Speaking of jokes, in honor of April Fools' Day, Discovery magazine's Jonathon Keats briefly recounts some scientific hoaxes perpetrated over the centuries. His catalogue of cons includes "Aristotle's Masterpiece," a 17th-century mishmash of bogus medical texts and sex advice that remained in publication for 200 years.

    April 1, 2014

  • touch.jpg Divorce is on the rise, and it's the baby boomers' fault

    A new paper from demographers at the University of Minnesota found that the age-standardized divorce rate has actually risen by an astonishing 40 percent since 1980.

    March 28, 2014 1 Photo