This letter of mine was published in the LATimes Oct. 1988:
[My best letter (so far) on AIDS]
Thank you for your editorial "AIDS: No on 96." I wholeheartedly agree.
You are, however, much too kind to Sheriff Sherman Block, the prime sponsor of Proposition 96, and to state Sens. Gary Hart and Robert Presley, who sponsored similar bills -- SB 2643 and SB 1913. All three measures represent a hysterical response to AIDS almost as bad as Proposition 102.
Unless police, emergency, and prison staff routinely share intravenous needles or have unprotected sex with prisoners and arrestees, they have little rational reason to fear HIV infection in the line of duty. Saliva, tears, sweat, and even blood on unbroken skin do not spread AIDS. Besides, as your editorial pointed out, a negative HIV-antibody test cannot be very reassuring unless a repeat test months later is still negative.
The officers in the field can be forgiven for their ignorance, since their superiors and many of our politicians are clearly ignorant themselves. Sadly, our county, state, and federal adminstrations have done little to help. Their fear-mongering is as vicious an opportunistic disease an any brought on by AIDS.
Instead of all these testing measures, we urgently need AIDS education measures.