I didn't remember the Sesame Street thing at all but I guess it was sort of overblown and misreported.
Muppet Wiki wrote:
In 2002, Sesame Workshop announced that an HIV-positive character would be introduced to the cast of Takalani Sesame, the South African co-production of Sesame Street. This idea was considered crucial for the area where AIDS is an epidemic. The HIV-positive character, Kami, was designed to help the promote tolerance and reduce the stigmas associated with HIV/AIDS. Kami is a furry yellow five-year-old Muppet who contracted the disease as the result of a tainted blood transfusion she received as an infant. Aside from appearing in the South African co-production, Kami also appears in Sesame Square, the Nigerian co-production of Sesame Street.
However media reports at that time of Kami's initial introduction gave many the impression that this character was proposed for the American version of the program. [...]
Despite the erroneous reports that Sesame Street was planning to introduce an HIV-positive character to American viewers, Sesame Workshop never intended on launching such a character in the United States. Robert Knezevic, vice president of international co-productions for Sesame Workshop, stated that "categorically, there are no plans to put this Muppet on the American 'Sesame Street.' I think this story kind of ran away."
The official Word From God via the Childrens Television Workshop is that Bert & Ernie are puppet, not humans, and thus do not have any se
exual or otherwise. They are just good friends.