We’ve all heard the stats. Black women across this country are being infected with HIV at alarming rates. Many have pinned this epidemic on the backs of “down low” men, while others see it as irresponsibility at its finest. Whatever the case may be, nearly thirty years after HIV/AIDS first began to ravage communities of Americans, it’s still here tearing them apart.

Recently, I had the pleasure of viewing a trailer for Mike Brown’s unfinished documentary 25 To Life.’ The documentary takes an honest and surprising look at a man with HIV on a quest for redemption.

The film follows William Brawner, a young man who contracted HIV when he was just 18-monts-old. Since he was a child, his family told him to conceal his status and he kept the secret under wraps for 25 years. During this time, however, Brawner engaged in rampant sexual activity with unknowing women, many of whom he failed to protect.

Now, Brawner is married and an active HIV advocate, and wants to set the record straight and get a bit of redemption from those whose lives he changed forever.

But is it too late?

Check out the trailer for ’25 To Life’ and go to the film’s website to donate

What do you think? Could you forgive someone who knowingly slept with you while they were HIV-positive? 

  • http://www.iriseben.com Iris_Eben

    God bless him and whoever he has been with. Especially, the wife who is standing by his side now. Was he wrong for not revealing his status…yes. Should he be a recipient of compassion…yes.

    Who am I to judge?

    When you know better you do better. He knows better.

  • Patricia

    Yes I could forgive him. I also wouldn’t turn my back on him. He just wouldn’t have the same status in my life as before.

  • OSHH

    You should forgive foik for your own sake, moreso than theirs.
    You do feel compassion, amazingly sometimes for people who have hurt you the most, but again people need to be honest, be responsible, be respectful of themselves and others in ALL scenarios.

  • Timcampi

    I would never personally be able to forgive someone who did this to me. Lord, help me, I just wouldn’t do it. You knew and then you chose to infect me? I could totally forgive the person who didn’t know, but to willingly take my life away like that… I mean I trusted you with my body. I’m sorry. You are all much better people than I am haha.

  • OSHH

    works in progress…….

  • d_nicegirl

    I couldn’t forgive him. That’s like me forgiving someone who tried to shoot me to death or strangle me or whatever. How is it any different? I’m sure all attempted murderers have a backstory.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Segdoh-Hareema-Akinak/100000531851239 Segdoh Hareema Akinak

    He’s a slimeball creep that exposed unwitting women to a deadly virus. What is there to forgive? If there’s a hell, he’s sure to go to it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Segdoh-Hareema-Akinak/100000531851239 Segdoh Hareema Akinak

    Exactly. It’s no different than if dude shot, strangled or burned someone alive. If he infected any one of those women, he is a murderer, point blank.

  • Alexandra

    Better late, than never. But wow. Maybe (maybe) I could forgive, but not forget. There is no cure yet & it is one of the most stigmatized/feared diseases.
    I can admit I would respect him more if he didn’t know and is now reaching out, but that’s not the story.

  • bella

    i agree……his own family didnt want to accept his status so how could he? the only thing he knew was to hide it….was he right to do that : not at all, but I applaud his efforts and his personal growth

  • fuchsia

    I could forgive and after awhile I would have to forgive. If I didn’t it would be like having two death sentences and one of them I could actually control.

  • SAA

    As for what do I think about this- I’m slightly disgusted with the way it was portrayed. I don’t know what its like to be HIV positive but something about the way he carried himself and what his mother said just pissed me off. HIV/AIDS may no longer be a death sentence but its a life altering disease. How dare he feel the need not to disclose his status because it “didn’t exist in his mind”. Screw it not existing in your mind- it exists in your body and is NEVER going away. As for his mother you fail- “if he wasn’t going to have unprotected sex with anyone then I don’t see the need for him to tell anyone”. REALLY?! Because condoms are 100% effective in stopping the spread of any STD/STI or HIV/AIDS. His denial could’ve single-handedly effected hundreds of people.

  • SAA

    precisely!! I hope at least one of the women he told sues in civil or criminal court him because what he did is against the law and he needs to go to jail for this crap. What he did is attempted murder.

  • Isis

    Omg!!! The entire family should be charged. That’s horrible

  • QON

    Isnt what he did illegal? Hasnt a wrestler just been sentenced to prison for doing exactly what this guy did?

  • Isis

    I hope so. He should be arrested. The whole family should

  • NOno
  • HoneyDew

    I have compassion for this young man, it probably was not easy growing up like him with a family that swept this big issue under the rug. However, although this was an extreme situation, this is just another example of why we ladies need to take more responsibility with our bodies. This is why it is important to wait and get to know who you are sharing your body with and GET TESTED TOGETHER BEFORE ANY SEX IS HAD!!!!

  • HoneyDew

    I just want to be clear, that I am not blaming these women AT ALL or absolving this man of any responsibility either. He is definitely responsible!!!

  • I got sense!

    He knew better a long time ago. Not buying it, but you obviously have. He didn’t care about anyone but himself until he got older. Now he wants to right wrongs but it’s too late. He can’t un-infect people.

  • http://@clnmike Clnmike

    How is this dude not in jail? And to have the audacity to make this all about him in a documentary? I aint having none of this, he intentionally put people’s lives at risk with his deception. He needs to pray that none of these women he slept with contracted this disease thats the only way I see he could be forgiven. If only one woman contracts this disease from him he needs to be locked up.

  • bklyn

    Wow. I’m definitely going to go see this film

  • apple

    hell no.
    f*k him and the acid drone horse he rode in on.. its one to unknowingly infect someone is one but no KNOWINGLY pass it on to TONS OF PEOPLE? PLEASE..it doesnt take a rocket scientist to know that was immoral and WRONG and there would be no good outcome. and assuming he may have been having sex since his teens he as infected women who lives probably didnt even get to begin yet or didnt know the fundamentals of protected sex or the fundamental of STDs.. and the thing is HE COULD HAVE USED A CONDOM if he just had to have sex with lots of people but he chose to have unprotected sex with tons and tons of women out of spite. i hope he goes to jail for murder.everyone wants to scream redemption redemption until its actually YOU or someone you love who life is now PURPOSEFULLY ruined..

  • http://www.facebook.com/Libra2008 April

    IS IT TOO LATE? wth… People are going to say that he is in the right because after “25 five years” he’s decided to apologize for savaging others’ lives and situations. Now, I’m not bashing him for contracting it at eighteen months old because that’s obviously not his fault, but it IS his fault for spreading it while knowing that he had it. How many women he’s possibly ruined who cannot have children, get married, etc. I’m totally disturbed by this. And I agree, he should be incarcerated because his actions were a CRIME shame! If a woman he slept with sees this video, and she knows she has AIDS, his life will be at risk because if I were her, I’d kill him; so it’s best for him to be incarcerated…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Segdoh-Hareema-Akinak/100000531851239 Segdoh Hareema Akinak

    That’s what I’d like to know. It’s against the law to intentionally infect someone with HIV, and the fact that he had the gall to even admit such (and get away with it) means someone is not doing their job.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Segdoh-Hareema-Akinak/100000531851239 Segdoh Hareema Akinak

    @I Got Sense- Exactly. This dude is a monster and a sociopath that hates women, not some ignorant mofo that just didn’t know any better. I don’t understand how some people can be blind to this.

  • LemonNLime

    This man knowingly infected these women?! And people are talking about forgiveness?! F(*& FORGIVENESS! This monster was more worried about his “manhood” than exposing women to this disease. Manhood my eye, he was a punk and a coward and a monster for what he has done. He should be in prison! I am completely disgusted by this. And personally, I am not impressed by an woman who would want to marry this disgrace of a human being.

    Ladies THIS is why YOU have to protect YOURSELVES, NO ONE is going to do it for you! Screw his feelings and “manhood”, get tested (continuously) and wrap it up, if he says no to BOTH kick his triflin’ a$% to the curb!

  • LemonNLime

    @ Segdoh Hareema Akinak- RIGHT! It worries me the crap that people just brush off or so easily forgive. He has basically given these women a death sentence all in the name of his pride and manhood. He knew if he was honest, most of these women wouldn’t sleep with him, so rather than taking the chance he purposely hide it! Yea, I’m gonna judge! And I hope a real judge see this and throws is hatefully a@# in jail!

  • Nic

    I may be treading a thin line of victim blaming, but I think someone is capable of forgiving if they didn’t make any effort to protect themselves. Will they do it? That’s between them. It can’t be swept under the rug that we all have a personal responsibility when it comes to sex (asking about HIV status, getting tested and using a condom regularly, etc.). It is definitely wrong that he chose not to tell these women, and he doesn’t get a pass just because his family told him to never reveal his status. But, everyone doesn’t grow up “enlightened” about everything like most of us, and HIV awareness campaigns were not nearly as pervasive in the 80s/90s as they are now. If I was a woman of interest, I would have to take into account these things, and I would probably forgive him, not for his sake but for my own.

  • sli

    Many people misunderstand forgiveness. It is a process that can take years and it involves understanding why we need to forgive, especially as it relates to our own physical, mental, and emotional well-being. As long as we carry hate and bitterness in our hearts for others, no matter what they have done, they still have power over us–and I will not let anyone have power over me. Yes, I could forgive.

  • African Mami

    Seeking redemption, and asking for forgiveness after exposing and or infecting them with HIV/AIDS? He can go jump off the tallest bridge on this earth! This is the exact same BULLSHIT that has women in Africa disproportionately infected and affected than their male counterparts. Their husbands, KNOWINGLY and CONSCIOUSLY infect them with the disease, then when they are on their death beds all bones and no skins ask for forgiveness. Jesus!

    The mother is a FOOL for stating that he does not have to tell his partner of his HIV status when engaging in PROTECTED sex. Umm….condoms tear?! Shit happens.

    This short film/documentary did not portray any sought of redemptive heart, it just portrayed FOOLISHNESS at its highest point!!!!!!!!!

    I would NOT forgive him! No questions asks, no answers needed on my stance. SHAME ON HIM!!!! URRRRRRGH…I’m mad as all hell!

  • Nicole

    More power to the women that can say off the bat that they could forgive this guy because I could not. It would take years of prayer for me to wholeheartedly forgive him. He was dead wrong for his actions. Like he said his manhood and bravado were playing a part in the decision that he made to not disclose his status. To me that translates into “I wasn’t going to get any action if I tell these women I’m HIV positive.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Segdoh-Hareema-Akinak/100000531851239 Segdoh Hareema Akinak

    People can forgive him all they want. However, he broke the law and deserves to face justice for that.

  • sli

    @Segdoh Hareema Akinak

    Who said he should not pay for what he did? I know I didn’t say that and don’t recall anyone else saying it, either. The question posed was, could you forgive? That’s why I said that many people misunderstand forgiveness. They think that forgiveness means condoning evil or bad behavior or that there’s a time frame for forgiveness. He did break the law and deserves to face justice, but what are you going to do for the rest of your life, hate? I have heard many testimonies of people who have chosen to forgive those who have killed, raped, injured, etc. their mothers, fathers, siblings, or children. I refuse to be angry for the rest of my life. That’s all I’m saying.

  • SAA

    “This short film/documentary did not portray any sought of redemptive heart, it just portrayed FOOLISHNESS at its highest point!!!!!!!!!”

    This EXACTLY sums up my initial thoughts/ reaction after watching the trailer. There was no redemption there just trying to clean his guilty conscience and making it all about himself- he obviously did not and does not care about the women he possibly (could’ve) infected. His ass has the nerve to a documentary on this, crying and shit up in church talking about awareness. There is no newfound awareness for someone if they’ve known since they were 5 that they had this disease, this acid death living in their penis, locked-loaded and ready to fire, shoot to kill. I hope someone puts him in jail forreal. Then his mother has the nerve to sit there and defend herself and his actions with absolutely ZERO shame. On top of all this- his now wife is going through invitro to have kids cuz this is the safest method for them to have kids who won’t be HIV positive. What about the children of the women he unknowingly infected who now may have the virus. This man is the most basic bastard if there ever was one.

  • Isis

    Im thinking maybe the women he sexed dont have it cuz if they do why in god’s name havent they had this dude thrown under the jail?? I wanna say something but wont cuz I dont feel like battling but I have a feeling I know why they havent had his a** arrested. Lawd

  • lisa

    woooooooooooooow! how many people did he infect? in a way i mainly blame his mother- she taught him how to supress it and keep it a secret and tell no one. as a responsible human being and as a woman, she should have taught him what to do B4 he became sexually active. how many lives has she allowed him to destroy? DISGUSTING! he should definitly go to prison for what he did to all those poor women. he looks like he is genuinely sorry and by doing this documentary he is raising awareness which can only be a good thing. if it makes women think twice b4 having unprotected sex this can potentially save lives but it doesnt take away what he did

  • GorgeousSmileLove

    This man is a serial killer, period, point blank!! There’s absolutely no sympathy in my heart for this wicked male, black devil. He knew all along what he was doing and just didn’t care, that is EVIL!!!! He’s the epitome of a sociopath and the documentary is all about notoriety, fame, and money. DISGUSTING!!!

  • Beautiful Mic

    What about all the women he infected?

  • @me

    Did he ever think that maybe he can’t get in touch with his ex-gf because God-forbid she could have passed away from HIV/AIDS complications? He should really be behind bars along with his mother for condoning his decisions and behavior!

  • Beautiful Mic

    People need to understand that everything done is not meant to be forgiven. I would not support this and give this sociopath narcissist a dime of my money. He doesn’t deserve it!

    Again, what about the women he infected. Why don’t they speak up? Oh, because he’s sentenced them to the same shame and silences he’s had to life with most of his life – and he’s pleased. He’s already redeemed. His family, they are a bunch of sociopaths as well. People are supposed to forgive him/them because they’re educated, and well liked.

    That’s bull!

  • Afrostyling

    He is a savage beast!

  • Msbettyjn

    Overall this look like a great documentary! In some sense he’s wrong, but at the same time it was up to the women he slept with to let it happen. Your telling me as a lady, a black one at that knowing that HIV hits our community the hardest! You choose not to ask and then have unprotected sex. And not only that, you knew he was a dog because obviously you guys wasn’t in a relationship. I did remember in another article how he stated women would sleep with him “”just because” So…. it’s just “his” fault? I believe the women are the ones to blame. I know if I was a guy and if Pu**y came my way, there’s NO WAY I would turn that down. Now it’s just wrong like how the girl mentioned where if he was asked and denied it. I’m not saying he was right for what he did, but women are more at fault if anything… Shoot I bet you half the women he slept with still dont know who they got it from… Just to show you how much they been around.

    ** You can only blame yourself**

    SN: I cant wait for this to come out, very interesting! I always see these groupies at my school who would do anything for some attention.

    BTW.. I wonder how he got it at 18 months, since he wasnt born with it :/

  • Just passing through

    He got it from a blood transfusion.

  • entro

    His mother is the despicable one. she strikes me as being bitter that her son had the disease and she didnt care who else got it because of him. She’s the epitomy of misery loves company, but in this case its not only misery but death for those unsuspecting women who might not know to get tested. There is forgivness for him out there, but still everyone reaps what they’ve sown. There is no way around that for him. No matter how much he says he’s sorry and seeks to repay or redeem himself, He still will reap what he’s sown BE SURE OF THAT

  • HeartofDiamonds

    I actually know this guy personally. I went to college with him and was quite friendly with him. He dated a couple of my friends, so this video hits close to home for me. He’s not the monster some of you think. For your info, he caught HIV through a bad blood transfusion. Back in those days, HIV was a gay, white man’s disease, and if a school found out a child had HIV, they would kick you out. Also, a lot of communities would go to these people’s homes, and throw things, try to start fires at their homes, get them kicked out, not let their kids play, and the news would be at your house. It was a traumatic experience for kids who had HIV in the early, mid and late 80′s. There was so much confusion that people had and ignorance, so I totally understand why his mom wanted to protect her son. However, I also want to say that he made a choice to be promiscuous in college. He was that forward, player type and he had swag. A lot of girls liked him, but he also put himself out there. He was popular in college. He claimed that he usually used protection, but I can’t confirm this. It’s really sad because I understand his fear on one side, but I also feel that he owed it to these women to wear protection and tell them. Then again, they have a responsibility to protect themselves. We can’t be so trusting of anyone. No one will protect you better than yourselves. I pray none of these women were infected, but if so, I hope that God can heal all the brokenness he caused to innocent people. For those that said he should be in jail, there may come a time where he’s prosecuted for this. It is a crime to knowingly have HIV and not tell a partner.

  • http://globetracer.wordpress.com She Traces

    I couldn’t find any info about when/where this is playing? Help…

  • Rakel

    I’ll say this first, I’m glad he’s in a loving relationship. People with HIV/AIDS are often ostracized and stigmatized. So the fact that he found acceptance and love is great. But did he ever stop to think that it may not be the same for his partners? I personally don’t think I could forgive him. But then again I would never have sex with anybody w/o knowing their status first. I’m not trying to judge these women. But you take a risk by having unprotected sex. And some of the consequences can be life altering or life threatening. I hope he finds every women he slept with, and tells them what he should have years ago. I think about these women, not knowing and unintentionally infecting others. Very scary. He’s done something that he can’t take back. I understand he was raised to keep it a secret but he got older and eventually knew better. If your partner won’t get tested or ask you to just “trust” him. It doesn’t need to happen. We as ladies have to put ourselves first.

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