It’s true: AIDS is nature’s awful retribution for our tolerance of immoderate and socially irresponsible sexual behavior. The epidemic is the price of our permissive attitudes toward monogamy, chastity, and other forms of sexual conservatism.
To an economist, it’s clear why people with limited sexual pasts choose to supply too little sex in the present: Their services are underpriced. If sexual conservatives could effectively advertise their histories, HIV-conscious suitors would compete to lavish them with attention. But that doesn’t happen, because such conservatives are hard to identify. Insufficiently rewarded for relaxing their standards, they relax their standards insufficiently.
Extrapolating from their usual response to environmental issues, I assume that liberals will want to attack the problem of excessive sexual restraint through coercive regulation. As a devotee of the price system, I’d prefer to encourage good behavior through an appropriate system of subsidies.
Quite plausibly, that something is condoms. Maxwell knows that he is more likely than Martin to be infected already, and hence probably values condoms less than Martin does. Subsidized condoms could be just the ticket for luring Martin out of his shell without stirring Maxwell to a new frenzy of activity.