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Share your thoughts on HIV Criminalization with the American Bar Association

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5 Comments

Nick

Thank you for caring enough to put yourself out there. Not enough people are outraged or even informed as to what's going on. You're a great human being AND a great nurse practitioner. I know these things to be absolutely true.

October 18, 2010

Catherine Hanssens

Derek, HIV criminalization exists, and people are being prosecuted in almost every state, even those without HIV-specific statutes, but these laws were not created by lawyers, at least not those who try to defend those people with HIV who are getting arrested and prosecuted. Trust me, lawyers are not making any money here -- most of the people who actually get prosecuted rely don't have the resources to hire private lawyers, who, by the way, don't tend to do a better job on these cases than underpaid, overworked public defenders. Blame your state legislators, and the members of the public health and AIDS community who spend too much time arguing against informed consent laws that protect people with HIV, and rarely so much as a word against laws that make people with HIV into criminals. Catherine Hanssens

October 14, 2010

Kris Davis

I am a nurse practitioner specializing in HIV. I've worked in this area for 22 years. These laws do not accomplish what is hoped for. Criminalization laws discourage HIV testing, therefore work against public health goals. Unfortunately the legislators, judges and juries involved are completely ignorant of HIV transmission and treatment, so the penalties are completely out of sync with the actual risks and harm involved.

October 14, 2010

Derek Brown

Dear ABA, DO NOT make the mistake of criminalizing HIV/AIDS. I get it, even lawyers are needing clients in this economy. HOWEVER, People with HIV are not going to bail out the attorneys during this recession. Find another source of income. Shame on you and all of your Nazi ideas. Don't make this country a police state. Sincerely, Derek W. Brown Bay St. Louis, MS

October 14, 2010

Gregory

It's my opinion that criminalization of HIV is a slippery slope that only demonizes those affected with HIV/AIDS. We live in a society that utilizes an accusatorial legal system which simply means that anyone can make an unfounded accusation. The present laws, even when applicable to false accusations, are seldom enforced against those who maliciously use the court system. I have been watching many cases around the world on this issue and it is troubling. The threat of being accused falsely is huge in my opinion. These laws fail to acknowledge the extremely low possibility of transmitting HIV when on a successful HART therapy. The recent case in Germany against a pop star raised many questions for me. With genotyping one could eliminate certain individuals from having transmitted HIV but one has to ask if such a defense would even be recognized by the courts. I point this out because one has to ask if one is accused of such things is there any real defense? Once accused, the individual is treated as guilty until they can prove their innocence in spite of the "innocent until proven guilty" principal. These laws do affect everyone in the HIV/AIDS community in a very negative fashion on every level, personally, economically, socially, emotionally and how we each view ourselves. Are we potential criminals or individuals with a health condition or both? What better reason not to get tested than to avoid being placed is such a conflicted position and potentially be accused of criminal intentions. Anyone can claim they were raped without evidence and yet such accusations are treated seriously and come at a huge price economically and emotionally to the one being accused. This happens in every area of law and to people in all walks of life. Once accused of a criminal act one is most often encouraged to accept a plea of some form because in general studies show juries feel they should convict someone for something in the case and tha is why they are there. The assumption being that the accused must have done something wrong for them to be on trial in the first place. In the case of the German pop star, I have to wonder how such a case could be taken seriously. Statistically, its very hard for a woman to infect a man with HIV to begin with. Yet, fear and intimidation will almost always win in criminal cases even when the accused is innocent. These laws are more dangerous then the eugenics laws used in this country between the late 1930's through the 1970's to sterilize and experiment on countless numbers of innocent people. They are counter to what is established medical fact and encourages discrimination on every level in society in making normal human behavior a criminal act for those affected by HIV/AIDS. Sex is everyones responsibility and these laws seek to unduly burden individuals affected by HIV/AIDS to be solely responsible while negating the personal responsibility of every human being for the choices they make. Under conditions like these it is almost impossible for individuals to disclose their status without excessive fear of retaliation and/or potential criminal accusation. There are hundreds of STD's, but it is truly a rare thing to see cases related to criminal transmission of any any one of them with the exception of HIV. Scientist are also not helping any of this by continued refusals to state the truly limited risks of transmission while on successful HART therapies (Yay for those who have definitively stated the facts rather than create unreal mathematical models for the singular purpose of disputing the scientific evidence on transmission risks in order to keep the sigma of HIV alive.) (Ok, now that was a true rant).

October 14, 2010

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