Dr. Boyce be hitting sometimes:
William “Reds” Brawner was apparently a hot commodity on the Howard University campus. As a student who graduated from the university in 2006, Brawner had a long list of female friends, many of whom were willing to do whatever he wanted at the drop of a hat.
One thing these women might have wanted to know about the man with whom they were sharing their bodies is that Brawner was HIV-positive the entire time. Even worse, he now admits that he had a great deal of unprotected sex during his time at Howard University.
“Will liked the girls and the girls liked Will,” one of his college buddies told TheLoop21.
Later down the road, when Brawner appeared in Essence Magazine as a result of his confession, that led to the other students from Howard replaying their interactions with him over the years. Many of the women who slept with Brawner have declined to comment, since they are probably embarrassed about what happened. One can only imagine how many official girlfriends and unofficial “friends with benefits” Will had over the years and how many people they might have infected.
As a father, the story about William Brawner hits me like a ton of bricks. My girls are in college, and every father spends his time worrying about the scores of male sexual predators that can be found lurking on every campus. As a college professor, I’ve concluded that college campuses are places where a great deal of learning takes place both inside and outside the classroom. God and Mother Nature become the lead professors, and the rest of us are extracurricular.
As our children learn these lessons about love and life, its important that we help them to realize that there are thousands of other William Brawners in the world whose stories have not yet been told. Some of them don’t even know they are the delivery boys of death, and think that the powerful act of sex is simply a method of quick gratification. Most of us who went to college remember frat parties where unspeakable things happened in the dark, and both men and women who had no concern with the concept of sexual responsibility. Even worse is that some fraternities (I won’t name which ones, but you might be able to guess) actually encourage rampant sexual promiscuity among black men, leading some of us to become the deadliest weapons in our own communities.
Knowing your own status is critical on the roulette wheel of love, but knowing the status of your partner is the piece of information that might make all the difference. Also, teaching our kids about sex in an honest and open fashion might help them to learn the value of protecting their bodies as they go through the valuable journey of love and life. None of us is positioned to judge the sexual choices of other people, but we must ask ourselves if our actions are being guided by our own preferences, or being inspired by an urban radio culture that tells us to drop our pants whenever it feels right.
I am not proud of William for sharing his story with the world. I also have a hard time feeling sorry for him. But his story serves as a wake up call for all of us, as we work our way through the virus that may put an end to all of Black America. Given that AIDS is now the leading killer of black women between the ages of 25 and 44, we could be well on our way to extinction.
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