A Florida prostitute is serving two years in quarantine after pleading no contest to criminal transmission of HIV. The third Floridian ever to be sentenced to community control, or house arrest, Joann Moorehouse Guzman is electronically monitored 24 hours a day to enforce her confinement to her house and is subject to official supervision. "It's not only uncommon for people to be sentenced to a quarantine, it's blatantly discriminatory," said William Kilpatrick, Guzman's pro bono lawyer. "It looks at one disease only--HIV."
Guzman, 35, was arrested last August for propositioning an undercover officer during a sting operation, and later told police she tested positive for HIV in 1993. Court records showed that she'd been arrested on prostitution charges at least six times since 1988. In 1993, the Florida legislature made it a third-degree felony for anybody who knows he or she has HIV to take part in a crime or attempted crime involving the transmission of bodily fluids. "The legislature in Tallahassee is made up of a bunch of cowboys, and they got together and decided to punish homosexuals and prostitutes by passing this statute," Kilpatrick said. "You don't see any of the johns being arrested, and it's more likely for them to transmit HIV to a woman than vice versa."
Guzman was charged with prostitution and attempted criminal transmission of HIV. Why? According to the undercover cop, she agreed to money for sex. But no act took place. "Everyone knows the risk of a man getting HIV from fellatio is near zero," Kilpatrick said. "But my client simply talked about fellatio." Guzman considered challenging the law but agreed to the plea because she feared dying in jail. If she complies with community control, her probation officer can recommend her release after one year.