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View Diary: Iowa leads by decriminalizing HIV (15 comments)

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  •  This is a step forward. (7+ / 0-)

    I wonder if the Nick Rhoades case was a contributing factor to this legislation?

    There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

    by slksfca on Thu May 08, 2014 at 04:51:48 PM PDT

    •  Yes, I believe it was. I think he is appealing to (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Louisiana 1976, slksfca, poco, RunawayRose

      the court for a reduction in sentence.

      To my eye the new law covers the ground pretty well. It makes provision that if a partner engages in sexual relations knowing that their partner is HIV+ that that is implicit consent, and that if reasonable precautions are taken that is a sufficient defense even if you don't tell your partner. How would you change the law? The full text is linked in the diary.

      Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

      by Wee Mama on Thu May 08, 2014 at 05:12:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's better, but still a problem. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kfunk937, slksfca, poco

        There are a few issues I see here.  The overarching problem is that responsibility for ensuring the health of the uninfected person is placed entirely upon the infected person.  In the case of HIV, this is not only unfair, it is irresponsible.

        By now, most of us know what HIV is and how it's transmitted.  This is particularly true among gay men, for whom HIV has been a fact of life for over 30 years.  An HIV-negative person who has unprotected sex with a person of unknown serostatus is assuming a risk.  That person could easily protect himself (or herself) by insisting on condom use.  So why is it that if transmission occurs, the poz person is responsible?  And not only responsible, but criminally liable? IOW, why is it that HIV-negative people are relieved of any duty to take care of themselves?

        I also don't know what "reckless disregard" is supposed to mean in this context.  Is it reckless to fail to inform someone of my status?  That is, does nondisclosure of HIV status constitute reckless disregard?  I know disclosure is an affirmative defense (assuming the poz person also offers to take precautions), but what exactly does failure to disclose leave you open to under this law?  

        And what about people who don't know their status?  Obviously, they can't knowingly expose anyone, but is the failure to get tested itself recklessness?  If you've had unprotected sex in the past (and thus might possibly be infected), is it reckless to have unprotected sex with another person, even if you aren't actually aware you have HIV?  

        In addition, while I fully understand the emphasis on disclosure, this law doesn't take into account that sometimes disclosure can get you into trouble.  People have been attacked after disclosing their HIV status to their partners.  Again, the law doesn't seem to consider at all the interests of people who are positive.

        I'm glad to see they've done things like removed the sex offender registration requirement and have expunged the records of all people convicted under this odious law, but I still think there are major problems with this approach.

        "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

        by FogCityJohn on Thu May 08, 2014 at 11:03:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, if you read the bill, a person is free from (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          any grounds for prosecution in either of two ways: they themselves take reasonable precautions OR they inform their partner. The person doesn't have to reveal HIV status if they take reasonable precautions against transmission. If they do reveal their status and their partner chooses not to use preventive measures, then the partner is giving implicit consent.

          I don't know explicitly about whether failure to find out your HIV status might be considered neglicence. The bill only deals with people who know that they are HIV+.

          Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

          by Wee Mama on Fri May 09, 2014 at 06:10:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  True enough. I stand corrected. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            poco, i saw an old tree today

            But that doesn't address my main problem with the legislation.  It still places the entire burden for dealing with the issue on HIV+ people, and it ignores the practical realities of our lives.

            Believe me, I've been living with this disease for a good long while now, and so the viewpoint expressed in this legislation doesn't surprise me.  Nevertheless, it's still disturbing that HIV-negative people are not expected to take any responsibility at all for their own health.  Outside of instances of rape or other kinds of duress, no one is forced to have unprotected sex.  As I said, by this point, anyone who chooses to engage in unprotected sex with a person of unverified status is assuming a known risk.

            In an action in tort, the assumption of that risk would be an absolute defense to liability.  Obviously, criminal law has different purposes, but it seems to me that this is a "crime" that can be perpetrated only when the victim chooses to forgo a few simple precautions.  

            "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

            by FogCityJohn on Fri May 09, 2014 at 10:57:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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