My trial has been postponed! An update from Norway
Six days before my trial was about to begin the 15th of October 2012, it became clear that it had to be postponed.
The complainant and the prosecution’s main witness has previously withdrawn the prosecution request and wished for the case to be closed. This is not possible with the the penal code that is used in this case and the indictment against me have been maintained.
The complainant has decided to leave the country for a longer period of time waiting for the trial negotiations to finish in court.
Both the defense counsel, the prosecutor and the court agreed that the case can not be processed without the complainant present, in person, for his immediate explanation is necessary for a proper clarification of the case.
There is now a medical report from a court-appointed independent expert. It is again confirmed that the complainant’s infection did not originate from me. After specific questions from my defender it is otherwise determined by the expert that I, in practice, could not have exposed an already HIV-infected person for risk of infection, - so even within the strict legal framework of applicable Norwegian laws, my defender is now having a hard time finding my “crime”.
A new trial has been scheduled for February 2013.
After AIDS 2012 in Washington
When I started to go public 10 months ago, I had no idea how many times I would tell my personal story as one living with HIV and experiencing being criminalized.
I do understand the symbolic value of someone coming forward with a story like mine, in the fight against HIV-criminalization and stigma. At the same time my HIV-activism has evolved.
Personally I have looked forward to defend myself against the indictment and the prosecutor in court this week. There is not much more to be said about this case, that’s not already out there in the public. Only thru being “granted” access to a trial, can I really put the Norwegian “HIV-law” to a test.
In the meantime my primary goal have been to address the public and the politicians about the latest knowledge (from AIDS 2012) on the positive effect of decriminalizing HIV and how to bring down the infection rates, by implementing a more easy accessible HIV-test system to increase the test rates. And how the two of them are connected to each other. Also together with a group of very skilled people living with HIV, to put up the first Norwegian organization since 1999, run by people living with HIV (http://louisgay72.blogspot.no/2012/07/the-new-norwegian-patient-network.html).
At this point, Norway has granted it’s first “minute” HIV-test earlier this autumn and plans are made to actively work to raise the test rates within the high risk groups of HIV-infections.
At the same time some of our more prominent HIV-specialized doctors remains skeptical to an early medical treatment as a way to lower the infection rates (http://www.dagensmedisin.no/nyheter/norske-leger-sier-nei-til-tidlig-hiv-medisinering--/).
Some of the arguments against such “test and treat” approach are; costs for the society, prioritizing the lack of medication in underdeveloped countries and increased problems with resistant virus.
Friday 19th of October 2012, the Norwegian Commission Report (the Syse-committee) on the “HIV-law” will be published here: http://www.regjeringen.no/mobil/nb/dep/hod/dok/nouer.html?id=1908. There should be an English summary published with it, as far as I been told.
This Commission Report will be the foundation of the continuing discussion on HIV-criminalization in Norway and other countries. Until the politicians in the Parliament finally makes a decision about to what extent the sexuality of people living with HIV should continue to be criminalized.