HIV is no laughing matter, especially when the perpetrator jokes she transmitted the virus on purpose. Brandi Lasiter of Americus, Georgia, learned this lesson when she posted a video on Facebook claiming that she was HIV positive and had intentionally infected her partners, going so far as to name the ex-lovers, along with their wives and girlfriends.
As the rant went viral, one of the men she named filed a complaint with local police and alerted them of the video, The Associated Press reported. It is a felony in Georgia to knowingly transmit HIV. Failure to disclose your status to sexual partners can result in 10 years in prison.
It turns out that Lasiter lied about her status to exact revenge on the men. According to a follow-up article in The Washington Post, she showed the police a 2018 blood test and agreed to take another, which came back negative.
She is now being charged with a misdemeanor for “harassing communications.”
The Post notes that HIV advocates across the nation argue that outdated HIV laws do harm and increase stigma. And yet the HIV arrests continue. In Georgia, before 1997, about 27 such arrests were made each year. By 2000, that number had more than doubled to 63 HIV-related arrests.
In her Facebook video, Lasiter boasted that she gets “real nasty and evil” when it comes to seeking revenge. “I always get the last laugh.”
In related POZ news, former college wrestler Michael Johnson, who was sentenced to prison for failing to disclose his HIV status, was recently released. To read about his case and how he’s doing, click here. A training session discussing ways to challenge such HIV laws, “HIV Is Not a Crime IV,” is scheduled for May 30 to June 2, 2020, at Ohio State University; for more information, click here. And for a collection of related articles, click #Criminalization.