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US: Bipartisan list of lawmakers sponsor bill to modernise HIV laws in Georgia

Georgia lawmaker wants to decriminalize HIV
April 19, 2019

Georgia lawmaker wants to decriminalize HIV

A Republican lawmaker introduced a bill that would modernize Georgia’s HIV laws, which activists say are outdated and stigmatize people living with HIV.

Under House Bill 719, a person charged with exposing someone to HIV — whether through sex or sharing needles — would have to show an “intent to transmit” the virus in order to be prosecuted, according to the bill. Current Georgia law makes it a crime for people living with HIV to have sex without disclosing their status. 

The bill would also downgrade the punishment for people found guilty of the offense to a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison. It’s currently a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

“[The bill] moves these archaic laws created out of the HIV panic of the 1980s and brings them up-to-date with our current understanding of HIV,” Eric Paulk, HIV policy field organizer for Georgia Equality, told Project Q Atlanta. “Additionally, this bill will aid in reducing stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV, which it is not just fair, but good for public health.”

“Lastly, reforming these laws is an important step to health and HIV prevention justice, especially for black gay, bisexual, and transgender Georgians, who are disproportionately impacted by HIV and prosecutions under these laws,” he added.

HB 719 would also make employees of syringe services programs immune from being charged with possession, distribution or exchange of needles or syringes as part of the program. The measure would also remove a provision in state law that makes it a crime for people living with HIV to spit on people.

Rep. Deborah Silcox (photo), a Republican from Sandy Springs who sponsored the measure, introduced HB 719 on April 2, the final day of this year’s legislative session. It will come back up for consideration during the 2020 session.

HB 719 has a bipartisan list of co-sponsors. The Republicans include Reps. Sharon Cooper of Marietta and Mark Newton of Augusta. The Democrats who signed on to the measure are Reps. Michele Henson of Stone Mountain and Karla Drenner of Avondale Estates. Drenner is one of the five openly LGBTQ members of the legislature.

Cooper sponsored a measure that created a study committee to examine the state’s HIV criminalization laws in 2017. 

The committee published its findings in December 2017, and some of those recommendations became part of HB 719. The committee found that “criminal exposure laws had no effect on detectable HIV prevention” and that these laws should be eliminated unless there was a clear intent to transmit the virus, according to the report.

Cooper, Silcox and Rep. Houston Gaines are the group of Republicans who introduced a package of HIV legislation during the 2019 session.

Cooper’s bill to create a pilot program to provide PrEP to people at high risk of contracting HIV passed both chambers and awaits Gov. Brian Kemp’s signature. Gaines’ bill to create a needle exchange program to help reduce HIV rates passed both chambers, and Kemp signed it into law on April 2. Silcox’s bill to make it easier for HIV-positive Medicaid recipients to receive the most effective medications passed unanimously in the House but got held up in the Senate over cost issues. It will return in 2020.

Georgia is one of three-dozen states that criminalize a lack of HIV disclosure. HIV criminalization laws are one of the reasons Georgia ended up in the lowest-rated category on the Human Rights Campaign’s annual State Equality Index.

Russia: Criminalisation of HIV infection is a futile measure that creates a false sense of security

ВИЧ как преступление. Михаил Голиченко – о деле Александры
April 18, 2019

Source: Radio Liberty (Радио Свобода) – April 17, 2019 – Deepl translation. For original article in Russian please scroll down.

HIV as a crime. Mikhail Golichenko – about the case of Alexandra

Everyone diagnosed with HIV infection is warned of liability under Article 122 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation – “HIV Infection”. The presence of such an article in the Criminal Code is dictated by the concern for the protection of public health. In theory. Of course, the organization of health care, including legal measures (among which there are also methods of prohibition supported by criminal sanctions) is an important prerogative of any state. For example, actions such as the circulation of counterfeit medicines are perfectly justified under criminal prohibitions – here the purpose of health protection has a direct logical link with the method of legal regulation and criminal prosecution. However, the usefulness of some other criminal prohibitions in terms of their role in health care is not entirely clear, but appears to have been chosen arbitrarily. One of these prohibitions is the article “HIV infection”.

Emotionally, this article in the Criminal Code can be explained: HIV infection is a chronic disease that can lead to death if not treated in time. Responsibility for HIV infection was included in the Soviet Criminal Code, but then it was only about infection due to violation of sanitary and epidemiological rules (as, for example, in the case of mass hospitalization of children in Elista in 1988). In 1996, the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation introduced a list of new offences for people living with HIV: “knowingly endangering their exposure to HIV” and “contracting HIV by a person who knew he had HIV”. Responsibility for the health of other people began to be placed on HIV-infected people, placing them in a situation of constant risk of criminal liability due to their chronic state of health. All over the world this is called criminalization of HIV infection.

From a rational point of view, criminalization of HIV infection is a futile measure, as it does not help to prevent HIV infection. There are a lot of scientific studies that prove that criminalization of HIV from the point of view of disease prevention is flawed. Criminalization of HIV infection undermines efforts to involve citizens in testing; creates a false sense of security and the lack of need to protect their own health; and leads to violations of the rights of those living with HIV, as they become targets of stigmatization.

Every year in Russia, about 40 people are prosecuted for “endangering their health” and for HIV infection. In most cases, these are cases arising from relationships between partners, when one partner suddenly learns about the other’s HIV status and, for one reason or another (often out of revenge), files a criminal complaint. The main evidence is usually the acknowledgement of a person living with HIV that sex was without a condom. Convictions in such cases are rarely appealed, and convicts prefer to forget the shame of the trial as soon as possible. But sometimes there are people who feel that the very idea of criminal responsibility is unfair: you are punished, in fact, because you are HIV-positive.

Alexandra (name changed) grew up in an orphanage. Not an ideal teenager, judging by the characteristics of an orphanage. At the age of 15 – the first marriage, a quick death of her husband, and already a widow. Around this time, Alexandra is diagnosed with HIV. She left the orphanage and tried to live on irregular earnings, including cleaning of apartments. Once Alexey hired her to clean the apartment, he is over 30. Alexey showed interest in Alexandra; when he found out that she was an orphan, he offered her to stay with him. Alexandra stayed with Alexei overnight. Alexei did not want to use a condom, and Alexandra was afraid to report her diagnosis openly, although she hinted at the danger of HIV infection.

At some point, Alexei began to become suspicious, and he insisted that Alexandra be tested for HIV. The relationship collapsed, and soon Alexei found out about the results of the tests. Although he did not have HIV himself, he reported it to the police. She appealed the guilty verdict with the assignment of the mandatory works of Alexander up to the Supreme Court. In January 2019, the Supreme Court sent her complaint back to the regional court, which dismissed the case for review by the court of first instance. Aleksandra is not a lawyer, not a human rights defender, but she feels that justice is on her side. And here are the reasons.

The offence of “endangering one’s health” implies a high threshold for prosecution – a direct intent. This intention is characteristic of a situation where a person not only understands that he or she may infect a partner, but also wishes to do so. That is, for example, when a person actively insists that sex should be without a condom. Alexandra did not do this. In the situation with Alexei, the law indirectly obliges Alexandra to monitor her partner’s health and either ensure that he or she has a condom on his or her penis or report his or her HIV status. In a situation of equality, the partner may not be afraid to disclose his or her status or insist on using a condom. But Alexandra found herself in a position of dependence on Alexei because she lived in his apartment. Aleksey was almost twice her age, had a lot more experience and was physically stronger. The girl couldn’t say that she was HIV-positive, but actively hinted at the fact that HIV could be infected, as, for example, her girlfriend had been infected. In other words, there is a lack of direct intent for criminal responsibility for putting Alexandra in danger of infection in her actions.

Social justice considerations require that the highest degree of social censure – criminal responsibility – be imposed on citizens only for the most negative acts. Murder, intentional harm to health – such acts undoubtedly require criminal liability. HIV infection is the infliction of serious harm to health, and intentional actions leading to it deserve a criminal article. However, there is no need to have a special article of the Criminal Code in which HIV infection would be identified as an independent characteristic. There are general compositions of crimes related to causing harm to health. The existence of a special composition specifically against HIV infection is a legislative reflection of the special, legal stigma attached to people living with HIV, and this does not comply with the principle of social justice.

The prosecution’s obligation to prove the guilt of the accused has been significantly reduced: the very fact that a person is living with HIV is sufficient, as well as the confession that sex was without a condom. The probability of HIV transmission during unprotected sex from woman to man is less than one tenth of a percent. As such, sex without a condom in general is not so dangerous in terms of HIV transmission as to make it a criminal offence. It is important that there is a clear, direct intent without proof of which prosecuting a person for sex with an HIV-positive partner without a condom can be compared to prosecuting a person who holds a knife in close proximity to another.

Condom use is one of the most effective ways to protect people from HIV during sexual intercourse. Condom use is a matter of everyone taking care of their own health. People should understand this, and everyone should understand it, regardless of their HIV status. The “endangering infection” formulation does not take into account the fact that not everyone is ready to disclose their HIV status to a partner in situations of intimate contact. The existence of a specific crime for endangering people without HIV creates a false sense of security, when failure to inform the partner about your positive status essentially means that you can not use a condom. In this way, the basis for an effective method of protecting the population from HIV is undermined, i.e. the formation of the population’s habit of using condoms. When she complains about her sentence, Alexandra fights for the health of the population, not just for herself.

The tension around Alexandra’s accusation continues. Aleksandra may again have to appeal the sentence to the Supreme Court, hoping to restore justice for people living with HIV.

Mikhail Golichenko – lawyer, candidate of legal sciences


ВИЧ как преступление. Михаил Голиченко – о деле Александры

Каждый, кому поставлен диагноз “ВИЧ-инфекция”, предупреждается об ответственности по статье 122 Уголовного кодекса РФ – “Заражение ВИЧ-инфекцией”. Наличие такой статьи в Уголовном кодексе продиктовано заботой об охране здоровья населения. В теории. Конечно, организация охраны здоровья, включая меры правового характера (среди которых присутствуют и способы запрета, подкрепленные уголовными санкциями), – важная прерогатива любого государства. Под уголовным запретом совершенно обоснованно находятся такие, например, действия, как обращение фальсифицированных лекарственных средств – здесь цель охраны здоровья имеет прямую логическую связь с методом правового регулирования, уголовным преследованием. Однако польза некоторых других уголовных запретов с точки зрения их роли в здравоохранении не вполне очевидна, они избраны, как представляется, произвольно. Одним из таких запретов является статья “Заражение ВИЧ-инфекцией”.

С эмоциональной точки зрения появление такой статьи в Уголовном кодексе можно объяснить: ВИЧ-инфекция является хроническим заболеванием, которое при отсутствии своевременного лечения может привести к смерти. Ответственность в связи с ВИЧ-инфекцией была включена еще в советский УК, однако тогда речь шла только о заражении в связи с нарушением санитарно-эпидемиологических правил (как, например, в случае с массовым внутрибольничным заражением детей в Элисте в 1988 году). В 1996 году в Уголовном кодексе Российской Федерации появился перечень новых составов преступления для людей, живущих с ВИЧ: “заведомая постановка в опасность заражения” и “заражение ВИЧ-инфекцией лицом, знавшим о наличии у него ВИЧ”. Ответственность за здоровье других людей стали возлагать на ВИЧ-инфицированных, поставив их в ситуацию постоянного риска уголовной ответственности в связи с хроническим состоянием здоровья. Во всём мире это называется криминализация ВИЧ-инфекции.

С рациональной точки зрения, криминализация ВИЧ-инфекции – мера бестолковая, так как профилактике ВИЧ-инфекции она не помогает. Есть множество научных исследований, доказывающих порочность криминализации ВИЧ с точки зрения профилактики заболевания. Криминализация ВИЧ-инфекции подрывает усилия по привлечению граждан к тестированию; создает у населения ложное чувство защищенности и отсутствия необходимости самостоятельно защищать своё здоровье; приводит к нарушениям прав тех, кто живёт с ВИЧ, поскольку они становятся объектами стигматизации.

Ежегодно в России за “постановку в опасность заражения” и за заражение ВИЧ-инфекцией к уголовной ответственности привлекают около 40 человек. В большинстве случаев речь идет о делах, возникающих из отношений партнеров, когда один из партнеров внезапно узнает о ВИЧ-статусе другого и по тем или иным причинам (часто из мести) обращается с заявлением о возбуждении уголовного дела. Главным доказательством является, как правило, признание человека, живущего с ВИЧ, о том, что секс был без презерватива. Обвинительные приговоры по таким делам редко обжалуют, осуждённые предпочитают поскорее забыть позор процесса. Но иногда встречаются люди, которые чувствуют несправедливость самой идеи уголовной ответственности: тебя наказывают, по сути, из-за того, что ты болен ВИЧ.

Александра (имя изменено) выросла в детдоме. Не идеальный подросток, судя по характеристикам из детского дома. В 15 лет – первый брак, быстрая смерть мужа, и уже вдова. Примерно в это время у Александры диагностируют ВИЧ. Она покинула детский дом и пыталась прожить на непостоянные заработки, в том числе занимаясь уборкой квартир. Однажды её для уборки квартиры нанял Алексей, ему уже за 30. Алексей проявил к Александре интерес; узнав, что она сирота, предложил девушке пожить у него. Александра осталась у Алексея на ночь. Алексей не хотел использовать презерватив, а Александра боялась сообщить о своём диагнозе открыто, хотя и намекала на опасность ВИЧ-инфекции.

В какой-то момент у Алексея начали возникать подозрения, и он настоял на том, чтобы Александра сдала анализы на ВИЧ. Отношения развалились, вскоре Алексей узнал о результатах анализов. Хотя у него самого ВИЧ выявлен не был, он обратился в полицию с заявлением. Обвинительный приговор с назначением обязательных работ Александра обжаловала вплоть до Верховного суда. В январе 2019 года Верховный суд направил ее жалобу обратно в областной суд, который спустил кейс на пересмотр в суд первой инстанции. Александра не юрист, не правозащитник, но она чувствует, что справедливость на её стороне. И вот по каким причинам.

Состав преступления “постановка в опасность заражения” предполагает высокий порог для привлечения к ответственности – прямой умысел. Такой умысел характерен для ситуации, когда человек не только понимает, что может заразить партнёра, но и желает этого. То есть, к примеру, для ситуации, когда человек активно настаивает на том, чтобы секс был без презерватива. Александра этого не делала. В ситуации с Алексеем закон косвенно возлагает на Александру обязанность следить за здоровьем партнёра и либо обеспечить наличие у него презерватива на половом члене, либо сообщить о своём ВИЧ-статусе. Возможно, в ситуации равенства партнёр с ВИЧ не побоится раскрыть свой статус или настоять на использовании презерватива. Но Александра оказалась в зависимом от Алексея положении, поскольку проживала у него в квартире. Алексей был почти в два раза старше неё, имел значительный больший жизненный опыт, был физически сильнее. Девушка не нашла в себе сил сказать, что у неё ВИЧ, но активно намекала на то, что ВИЧ можно заразиться, как, к примеру, заразилась её подруга. Иными словами, для уголовной ответственности за постановку в опасность заражения в действиях Александры недостает прямого умысла.

Соображения социальной справедливости требуют, чтобы наивысшей степени общественного порицания – уголовной ответственности – граждане подвергались только за наиболее негативные поступки. Убийства, умышленное причинение вреда здоровью – такие поступки, без сомнения, требуют уголовной ответственности. Заражение ВИЧ-инфекцией – нанесение тяжкого вреда здоровью, и ведущие к этому умышленные действия заслуживают уголовной статьи. Однако для этого нет необходимости иметь специальную статью Уголовного кодекса, в которой ВИЧ-инфекция была бы выделена в качестве самостоятельного признака. Есть общие составы преступлений, связанных с причинением вреда здоровью. Наличие специального состава именно против заражения ВИЧ-инфекцией является законодательным отражением особой, возведенной в закон стигмы по отношению к людям, живущим с ВИЧ, а это не соответствует принципу социальной справедливости.

Существенно снижена обязанность стороны обвинения доказывать вину обвиняемого: достаточно самого факта того, что человек живет с ВИЧ, а также признательных показаний, что секс был без презерватива. Вероятность передачи ВИЧ во время секса без презерватива от женщины к мужчине составляет менее одной десятой доли процента. Сам по себе секс без презерватива в целом не настолько опасен с точки зрения передачи ВИЧ-инфекции, чтобы возводить его в ранг уголовного преступления. Важно, чтобы было наличие чёткого прямого умысла, без доказательства которого привлечение к ответственности за секс с партнёром с ВИЧ без презерватива можно сравнить с привлечением к ответственности человека, который держит в руках нож, находясь в непосредственной близости от другого.

Использование презервативов – один из наиболее эффективных способов защиты от ВИЧ при половых контактах. Использование презерватива – вопрос заботы каждого о своем здоровье. Люди должны это понимать, причём должен понимать это каждый человек, вне зависимости от своего ВИЧ-статуса. Состав “постановка в опасность заражения” не учитывает, что в ситуациях интимного контакта далеко не каждый готов раскрыть партнёру свой ВИЧ-статус. Наличие специального состава преступления за постановку в опасность заражения создает у людей без ВИЧ ложное ощущение защищенности, когда несообщение партнером о своём положительном статусе по сути означает, что можно не использовать презерватив. Таким образом подрывается основа эффективного метода защиты населения от ВИЧ – формирование привычки населения использовать презервативы. Обжалуя свой приговор, Александра борется за здоровье населения, а не только за себя.

Тяжба вокруг обвинения Александры продолжается. Возможно, Александре снова придется обжаловать приговор вплоть до Верховного суда в надежде восстановить справедливость в отношении людей, живущих с ВИЧ.

Михаил Голиченко – адвокат, кандидат юридических наук

[update]Belarus: Man living with HIV sentenced to 1.5 years in jail for alleged HIV non-disclosure in Novogrudok

Эпатажного «священника» из Новогрудка осудили за возможность заразить других ВИЧ
April 17, 2019

Source: Наша Ніва / NN.BY –  Published April 16, 2019 Google translation, for article in Russian, please scroll down

Outrageous “priest” from Novogrudok convicted for risking to infect others with HIV

A resident of Novogrudok, DX, better known in social networks as the “Bishop of the World”, was sentenced to 1.5 years in prison in a general regime colony. The verdict was announced in a court of Novogrudok district on April 16, Radio Svaboda reports.

During this period, they will be credited with more than six months, which X has already spent in the SIZO.

This was told by X’s friend Nina Pavlovskaya.

X was convicted of “knowingly creating for another person the danger of contracting a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)” (part 1 of article 157 of the Criminal Code), that is, he did not warn his sexual partners that he had HIV. According to mothers and friends, X had sexual intercourse during sex.

It is known that five people were recognized as victims, but in court they stated that they had no complaints against X.

X plans to appeal the verdict.

The case was considered for 4 days behind closed doors.

Prior to that, the defendant had been in the Grodno SIZO for more than six months.

Human rights defenders in the field of HIV / AIDS had previously asked the court to acquit X. In their opinion, there was no guilt in the man’s actions.

 ————————————–

Эпатажного «священника» из Новогрудка осудили за возможность заразить других ВИЧ

Жителя Новогрудка Дмитрия Бондаря, более известного в социальных сетях как «епископ мира», осудили на 1,5 года лишения свободы в колонии общего режима. Приговор огласили в суде Новогрудского района 16 апреля, сообщает«Радыё Свабода».

В этот срок зачислят более полугода, что Бондарь уже провел в СИЗО.

Об этом рассказала подруга Дмитрия Бондаря Нина Павловская.

Бондаря признали виновным в «заведомо созданной для другого лица опасности заражения вирусом иммунодефицита человека (ВИЧ)» (ч. 1 ст. 157 Уголовного кодекса), то есть в том, что он не предупреждал своих сексуальных партнеров, что имеет ВИЧ. По словам матери и друзей, Дмитрий при половых контактах использовал средства защиты.

Известно, что пятеро человек были признаны пострадавшими, но в суде они заявили, что не имеют претензий к Бондарю.

Дмитрий планирует обжаловать приговор.

Дело рассмотрели за 4 дня в закрытом режиме.

До этого фигурант более полугода находился в гродненском СИЗО.

Правозащитники в сфере ВИЧ/СПИД ранее просили суд оправдать Бондаря. По их мнению, в действиях мужчины не было вины.

 

 


 Source NewGrodno, April 12, 2019 – Google translation. For article in Russian, please scroll down.

“Allegedly he did not warn that he was ill with HIV.” In Novogrudok began closed trial of the “bishop of the world”

In the court of Novogrudok district, the consideration of the criminal case against the “Bishop of the World”  DX began . He is charged under the heading “Putting another person in danger of becoming infected with HIV.” The trial takes place behind closed doors. All the time, while the investigation was going on (and this is almost 7 months), X was in custody. TUT.BY talked with the mother of the scandalous priest of the Old Catholic Church.

– You know, X is an optimist. I managed to talk to him before the meeting. He even in his difficult situation, trying to joke and not lose heart. Laughing in the cell, almost like a hotel. But seriously, he very much hopes that the trial will be fair. The whole story of him and I was very exhausted,  – says X’s mother  Valentine . She is sure that her son could not infect anyone, because, having learned about his diagnosis, he got registered in the dispensary, took medicines, and protected himself.

However, X faces up to three years in prison.

–  He allegedly did not warn that he was ill with HIV. I can not yet talk about the essence of the matter, but I will say one thing – the witnesses told the whole truth, as it is. And this gives us hope. It is planned that the verdict will be announced next week,  says VX. –  As for the fact that he is allegedly not a priest … He is a priest of the Old Catholic Church. And it’s not his problem that many people don’t like this religious movement,  says Valentina.

– Why does he call himself “the bishop of the world”?

– It was an image for litovka. They invented it together with Sergey Koval. Once a home for all, there will be a “bishop of the world.” And the image suddenly became popular. All these interviews, plots on television, articles … Maybe it was not necessary to have it all, but nothing can be fixed.

Recall, X became widely known for his instagram page. In his numerous interviews, he told me that he was a priest of the Old Catholic Church, wore a robe of a Catholic priest, and rather unconventionally talked about religion and faith. According to the man, he conducted services in the old-Catholic chapel of St. Martin in Novogrudok. In the Novogrudok community of this religious faith there are about 25 people.

Several years ago, Metropolitan Vitaly ordained X to the priesthood. Since 2013, the community was accepted into the Old Catholic Church in Poland. However, in February 2018, the curia of the Grodno Catholic diocese issued a statement that X was not part of the priestly state and had no relation to the Roman Catholic Church.


«Якобы не предупреждал, что болен ВИЧ». В Новогрудке начался закрытый суд над «епископом мира»

В суде Новогрудского района началось рассмотрение уголовного дела в отношении «епископа мира» Дмитрия Бондаря. Он обвиняется по статье «Заведомое поставление другого лица в опасность заражения ВИЧ». Суд проходит за закрытыми дверями. Все время, пока шло следствие (а это почти 7 месяцев) Дмитрий находился под стражей. TUT.BY поговорил с мамой скандального ксендза старокатолической церкви.

— Знаете, Дима у нас оптимист. Мне удалось поговорить с ним перед заседанием. Он даже в своей непростой ситуации старается шутить и не падать духом. Смеется, что в камере, почти как в отеле. А если серьезно, то он очень надеется, что суд будет справедливым. Вся эта история его и меня сильно вымотала, — говорит мама Дмитрия Бондаря Валентина. Она уверена, что ее сын никого не мог заразить, ведь, узнав о своем диагнозе, встал на учет в диспансер, принимал лекарства, предохранялся.

Тем не менее, Дмитрию Бондарю грозит до трех лет лишения свободы.

 Он якобы не предупреждал, что болен ВИЧ. Я не могу пока говорить о сути дела, но скажу одно — свидетели рассказывали всю правду, все как есть. И это вселяет в нас надежду. Планируется, что приговор огласят уже на следующей неделе, — говорит Валентина Бондарь. —  Что касается того, что он якобы не священник… Он ксендз старокатолической церкви. И не его беда, что это религиозное течение многим не нравится, — говорит Валентина.

— А почему он себя называет «епископом мира» ?

— Это был образ для Литовки. Они его придумали вместе с Сергеем Ковалем. Раз дом для всех, то будет «епископ мира». И образ вдруг стал популярным. Все эти интервью, сюжеты на телевидении, статьи… Может быть, и не надо это все было, но уже ничего не исправишь.

Напомним, Дмитрий Бондарь стал широко известен благодаря своей страничке в инстаграме. В своих многочисленных интервью он рассказывал, что является ксендзом старокатолической церкви, носил рясу католического священника и достаточно нестандартно рассуждал о религии и вере. По словам мужчины, он проводил службы в старокатолической часовне Святого Мартина в Новогрудке. В новогрудской общине этого религиозного направления насчитывается около 25 человек.

Несколько лет назад митрополит Виталий рукоположил Дмитрия в священники. С 2013 года общину приняли в старокатолическую церковь в Польше. Однако в феврале 2018 года курия Гродненской католической епархии выступила с заявлением о том, что Дмитрий не входит в священнический штат и не имеет никакого отношения к римско-католической Церкви.

 

После задержания Дмитрия, Сергей Коваль закрыл свой дом в Литовке для посещений. Напомним, Сергей построил необычный дом-музей «для всех людей», двери в котором не закрывались для любого желающего круглые сутки. Посетить усадьбу можно было совершенно бесплатно.

Бизнесмен подчеркивал, что задержание старокатолического священника и закрытие необычной усадьбы никак не связаны. В новогоднюю ночь Сергей Коваль покончил жизнь самоубийством.

 
 

 

Belarus: 34-year-old woman faces 3 charges of alleged HIV transmission and 9 charges of alleged HIV exposure in Luninets district

Лунинчанку, которая распространяла ВИЧ–инфекцию, будут судить
April 17, 2019

Source: Media-Polesye.by, April 16, 2019 – Google translation of article in Russian (Scroll down for Russian version). 

Luninchanku who spread HIV infection will be judged

The priestess of love put 13 people at risk of HIV infection, three of them confirmed the presence of the virus.

“The Prosecutor’s Office of the Luninets District has filed a criminal case against a 34-year-old Luninchanka, who is accused of committing crimes under Article 157, part 1 and 3, of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus, for consideration by the court,” Art. Assistant Prosecutor of the Luninets District, Anna Pener . – 12 criminal cases combined into one proceeding.

Knowing that she has HIV infection and being warned about responsibility, the loving Luninchanka entered into intimate relationships with men, not thinking about the consequences and danger of infecting other people.

As reported by Polesye Media, at the end of 2018, the Luninets District Department of the Investigative Committee opened three criminal cases against a 34-year-old Luninchanka under Article 157 of the Criminal Code of Belarus “Infection with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus”. Laboratory studies have confirmed the presence of human immunodeficiency virus in three men who are victims in these cases.

Then Luninets ROSK filed 9 more criminal cases in nine episodes under Part 1 of Article 157 of the UKRB, “Assuredly putting another person in danger of becoming infected with HIV”.

The victims in the case are men aged 30 to 55 years and older.

From December 29, 2018, the defendant is held in custody.


Лунинчанку, которая распространяла ВИЧ-инфекцию, будут судить

Жрица любви поставила в опасность заражения ВИЧ 13 человек, у троих из них наличие вируса подтвердилось.

– Прокуратура Лунинецкого района направила уголовное дело в отношении 34-летней лунинчанки, которая обвиняется в совершении преступлений, предусмотренных частями 1 и 3 статьи 157 УК РБ, для рассмотрения в суд, – прокомментировала Медиа-Полесью ст. помощник прокурора Лунинецкого района Анна Пенер. – 12 уголовных дел объединены в одно производство.

Заведомо зная, что у неё ВИЧ-инфекция и будучи предупреждённой об ответственности, любвеобильная лунинчанка вступала в интимные связи с мужчинами, не думая о последствиях и опасности заражения других людей.

Как сообщало Медиа-Полесье, в конце 2018 года Лунинецкий райотдел Следственного комитета возбудил в отношении 34-летней лунинчанки 3 уголовных дела по статье 157 УК РБ «Заражение вирусом иммунодефицита человека». Лабораторные исследования подтвердили у троих мужчин, которые проходят потерпевшими по этим делам, наличие вируса иммунодефицита человека.

Затем Лунинецкий РОСК возбудил ещё 9 уголовных дел по девяти эпизодам по части 1 статьи 157 УКРБ «Заведомое поставление другого лица в опасность заражения ВИЧ».

Потерпевшими по делу проходят мужчины в возрасте от 30 до 55-лет и старше.

С 29 декабря 2018 года обвиняемая содержится под стражей.

US: Man living with HIV arrested in Maryland for alleged HIV exposure

Police: Maryland man knowingly transferred HIV to women he met online
April 17, 2019

Source: True Crime Daily, April 16, 2019

FREDERICK, Md. (WITI) — A Maryland man was arrested after police said he knowingly transferred HIV to multiple women he met through online dating, WUSA reported.

Police arrested RX after almost two years of collecting evidence to prove he was knowingly exposing women to HIV.

X is now facing four counts each of first-degree assault, reckless endangerment and knowing transfer of HIV.

US: South Carolina man charged with alleged HIV exposure could face up to 10 years in prison

Rock Hill man charged with exposing woman to HIV, police say
April 17, 2019

Source: The Herald, April 16 2019

Rock Hill man charged with exposing woman to HIV, police say

A Rock Hill man has been arrested for exposing a woman to the HIV virus and not telling her, police said.

LX, 50, was arrested late Monday after a four-month investigation on a charge of exposing others to HIV, according to police reports. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted under South Carolina law.

X is accused of not disclosing to a woman that he had HIV, said Capt. Mark Bollinger of the Rock Hill Police Department.

X has no permanent address, Bollinger said.

X did not disclose that he had the virus while they were together,” the report states.

 Rock Hill police Det. Kris Quate obtained medical records after securing search warrants during the investigation, police reports show. X denied having HIV to police initially, reports state.

When X was being arrested Monday, he then told police he was positive for HIV and had been for about two decades, police said.

HIV, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, can lead to AIDS. HIV is a virus spread through certain body fluids that attacks the body’s immune system, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The arrest in York County for the charge of exposing someone to a disease that could be deadly is extremely rare, police said.

South Carolina law has several requirements for people with HIV when it comes to having sex, giving blood or being an organ donor.

A person with HIV commits a crime in South Carolina if that person knowingly engages in sex with another person without first informing that person of his HIV infection, state law shows. An HIV-positive person also cannot share medical needles without informing another person about the virus, South Carolina law states. A person with HIV cannot sell or donate blood or organs, under state law.

X has spent stretches in South Carolina prisons after convictions that date back to 1989 for felony burglary, larceny, assault and battery, damaging property, and threatening public officials, according to online court records.

X was released from jail after his arrest on Tuesday after posting a $6,000 bond, according to police and court officials.

Uganda: Constitutional Court asked to repeal requirement for forced disclosure in law on sexually transmitted diseases

Scrap ‘inhuman’ laws on STDs, court urged
April 12, 2019

Scrap ‘inhuman’ laws on STDs, court urged

Published in the Daily Monitor, April 10, 2019

Kampala. The Constitutional Court has been asked to scrap laws that dehumanise people diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases under the Venereal Diseases Act of 1977.
Section 4 of the Venereal Diseases Act demands that a person who is suffering or has recently suffered from a sexually transmitted disease (STD) shall name the person who infected him or her.
The law prescribes a fine not exceeding Shs2,000 or a prison sentence not exceeding six months or both for anyone who contravenes the law.
Some of the venereal diseases include HIV/Aids, gonorrhea, genital warts, human papillomavirus and syphilis.

But Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development, a civil society organisation (CSO), says the law contravenes the right to privacy.
“Your petitioner (Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development) avers that the requirement for forced disclosure in Section 4 (1) of the Venereal Diseases Act, contravenes the right to privacy guaranteed under Article 27 (1) (a) and 27 (2) of the Constitution,” reads in part the documents filed in court yesterday.
“Your petitioner contends that the requirement for forced disclosure in any law is not an acceptable and demonstrably justifiable limitation in a free and democratic society,” the petition adds.

The CSO further contends that the law is degrading as it allows for involuntary treatment and examination of a person suffering or suspected to be suffering from a sexually transmitted disease.
This, it says, is done in guise of public health concerns yet it undermines the human rights guaranteed under articles 21 (1), 23 (1), 24, 27 (1) (a), 28 (1), 42 and 44 (a) and (c) of the Constitution. 
The petitioner cites Section 5 of the Venereal Diseases Act that gives powers to a medical officer to order for detention of any person in a hospital that they think in their opinion has a sexually transmitted disease. The detention is aimed at having the suspected sick person treated first before he or she can be left to re-join the community.

“Your petitioner contends that the authorisation of detention of a patient in a hospital in Section 5 contravenes the right to personal liberty guaranteed under Article 23 (1) of the Constitution,” the petitioner asserts
The other provisions of this law being challenged in court as being unconstitutional is Section 2, which empowers a medical officer to direct any person for examination of any person suspected to be carrying the disease.

“Your petitioner contends that the authorisation of forceful medical examination without full and informed consent in Section 2 of the venereal Diseases Act, contravenes the right to privacy, bodily integrity, security of a person, health and freedom from non-discrimination guaranteed under Articles 8 A (1), 21 (2), 45 and Objectives X1V b and XX of the National Objectives and Directives Principles of State Policy of the Constitution,” the petitioner claims.
The Attorney General has been listed as the sole defendant in the petition.
Further in their petition, the CSO avers that if the identified provisions of the Act are implemented in their current form, they may not only limit access to health care services but will also promote stigma and discrimination against people suffering from sexually transmitted diseases.

Appeal. The petitioner, through their lawyers of Dalumba Advocates, now wants court to declare sections 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8 of the Act unconstitutional.
They also want court to direct the Uganda Law Reform Commission to undertake a study and make recommendations on the relevance of the law on venereal diseases in a free and democratic society.

 

US: HIV criminalisation laws that require people convicted to be on the sex offender registry are ineffective and stigmatising

The push to end punishment against people with HIV
April 12, 2019

THE PUSH TO END ‘PUNISHMENT FEVER’ AGAINST PEOPLE WITH HIV

Advocates say laws that land people with HIV on the sex offender registry are outdated and dangerous.

Every five years, Mark Hunter has to pay around $300 to have his picture displayed in the newspaper and notices mailed to his neighbors, informing them that he is a sex offender. While on parole, he said, he pays about $60 a month in fees and has to attend a sex offender treatment class. His crime? In 2008, he was convicted of failing to tell two ex-girlfriends that he was HIV-positive.

Though neither partner contracted HIV, Hunter was still convicted under Arkansas’s HIV exposure law, which requires those who know they are HIV-positive to disclose their status to sexual partners. Sentenced to a dozen years in prison, he was released in 2011 after serving almost three.

But now, he must register as a sex offender, incurring the same obstacles, humiliation, and costs many others on registries face.

In Louisiana, where he now lives, Hunter’s driver’s license has “sex offender” written in capital letters under his photo, per the state’s registry requirements.

“When I saw it on my license, that was one of the most hardest things ever,” said Hunter, now 44. “Those two words on my license are still a hindrance to the life I want to live.”

Lousiana, Arkansas, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Washington State require, or authorize courts to require, those convicted under HIV criminalization laws to be on the sex offender registry, according to the Center for HIV Law and Policy. Advocates, who condemn the statutes as ineffective, stigmatizing, and unscientific, are working to modernize the laws in the courts and state legislatures.

But even some of the fixes fall short, they say, including an amendment to Louisiana’s law that was enacted last year that removed biting and spitting as specifically identified means of transmission. Disclosure of HIV status is still required.

“We do not need to be punishing people through the criminal law,” said Robert Suttle, assistant director of the Sero Project, which advocates HIV criminalization law reforms. “This is a public health issue.”

 

Hunter, a hemophiliac, was diagnosed with HIV in 1981, at age 7. He said he and his family largely kept his status a secret.

“People were treated harshly who had this disease,” said Hunter. “They were treated like outcasts.”

But though the public’s perception of HIV has evolved, being on a sex offender registry carries a similar stigma. After he was released from prison in 2011, Hunter settled in Louisiana. He has found it difficult to find work, he said. Louisiana’s sex offender registry law requires him to register any address where he stays longer than seven days.

In the 1980s and 1990s, a flurry of HIV criminalization laws were enacted, many of which remain on the books. Today, 26 states have HIV-specific laws that criminalize exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

HIV became “swept up” in the era’s “punishment fever,” explained Trevor Hoppe, author of “Punishing Disease: HIV and the Criminalization of Sickness.”

“Legislators around the country were already in the mode of punishment,” said Hoppe. “It was kind of a general approach they were taking to many social problems.”

Because there is no national database that tracks prosecutions, it is difficult to know how many people have been charged, convicted, or placed on the registry as a result of HIV criminalization laws, according to Catherine Hanssens, executive director of the Center for HIV Law and Policy. A comprehensive study of Florida’s criminalization laws found that more than 600 people had been arrested for an HIV-related offense between 1986 and 2017.

Scientistspsychologistshealthcare providers, and HIV-positive advocates have condemned the laws over the decades since they were enacted, noting that there has been no association found between criminalization statutes and lower transmission rates.

“People with HIV are not out there passing HIV along in some intentional way,” said Dorian-gray Alexander, a member of the Louisiana Coalition on Criminalization and Health who is living with HIV. More than a third of the time, the transmission of HIV is between people who don’t know their status.

HIV criminalization statutes rarely take into account advances in treatment, condom use, or actual risk of transmission, according to advocates. For instance, in Arkansas, where Hunter was convicted, it is a felony to sexually penetrate another person without first disclosing one’s HIV-positive status. However, penetration is broadly defined as an “intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person’s body or of any object into a genital or anal opening of another person’s body.”

Cheryl Maples, an Arkansas attorney, plans to file a petition in federal court in the coming weeks that challenges the law’s constitutionality, she told The Appeal. Maples, whose uncle died of AIDS-related complications, has defended several people charged with HIV exposure. The state attorney general’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

“It is basically a crime that is against the LGBT community and other communities that are in disfavor,” said Maples. “People that are being charged with this are not predators.”

 

In Tennessee, sexual contact is not even required under the state’s aggravated prostitution statute. A person is in violation of the law if he or she knows they are HIV-positive and works “in a house of prostitution or loiters in a public place for the purpose of being hired to engage in sexual activity.” Those convicted are placed on the sex offender registry and face up to 15 years in prison.

People convicted of aggravated prostitution can petition to be removed from the registry if they were victims of sexual violence, domestic abuse, or human trafficking. Last year, then-Governor Bill Haslam signed into law a bill that allows those convicted as juveniles with aggravated prostitution to have their records expunged if they were victims of human trafficking.

But regardless of why or when someone engages in sex work, sex workers living with HIV need “services, not handcuffs,” said Alex Andrews, co-founder of Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP) Behind Bars.

“When you put someone on a registry for having HIV, that’s public information,” said Andrews. “Put sex work on top of that and you have a really bad situation for survival.”

The state’s aggravated prostitution statute and HIV exposure law are both felonies that require sex offender registration. That’s different from the way Tennessee law governs the disclosure of other infectious diseases. It is a misdemeanor to engage in “intimate contact” without disclosing a diagnosis of Hepatitis B or C, but failure to disclose those diseases does not require sex offender registration.

 

As attempts are made to reform HIV criminalization laws, advocates worry about changes that tie criminalization solely to a person’s risk of transmission. Doing so, they warn, could marginalize those without access to treatment and those with detectable viral loads. (Those with undetectable viral loads, like Hunter, have “effectively no risk” of transmitting the virus, according to the CDC.)

Repealing HIV-specific laws is often insufficient, they add, because people can still be exposed to harsh punishments. People in states without such laws have been charged with attempted murder or assault with a deadly weapon for a range of incidents including spitting. (HIV cannot be transmitted through saliva.)

Modernizing statutes should focus on a person’s intent, and conduct likely to cause harm, not a failure to disclose, said Hanssens, the HIV law and policy center executive director. Any reform must also cease placing people on the registry, a practice she called irrational and unconscionable.”

“You cannot treat consensual sexual contact as a criminal wrong simply because that particular person happens to have one or another disease,” said Hanssens. “It’s a pointless and dangerous and stigmatizing response to what is a public health issue.”

Hunter has joined HIV-positive advocates from across the country in speaking out about the harms of criminalization and the sex offender registry in particular. He also works to reduce the persistent stigma and fear surrounding HIV by helping young people tell their families they are HIV-positive.

“They need to understand that it’s not a death sentence,” said Hunter. “I’m married. My wife is not HIV-positive, and we are trying to have a child.”

He has started a nonprofit organization dedicated to HIV and AIDS education in his brother’s name, the Dr. Michael A. Hunter Foundation. His brother, like Hunter, was a hemophiliac who contracted HIV from a blood transfusion. He died from AIDS-related complications in 1994.

“I’m Mark, and I happen to be HIV-positive,” said Hunter. “I had to embrace that, and once I embraced it, I let go of a lot of the pain.”

[Update]US: Florida court judges man living with HIV to be a “danger to public” for alleged HIV non-disclosure

’I’m not a monster’, Man admits to hiding HIV status
April 11, 2019

Published in WearTV on April 11, 2019

“I’m not a monster”, Man admits to hiding HIV status

A man who admitted to having sex with women without telling them he is HIV positive has been deemed a danger to society by an Escambia County jury.

Channel 3 News’ Chorus Nylander was the only reporter in the courtroom.

It took an Escambia County jury no more than an hour to reach their decision– determining X is a danger to the public which means he will get a harsher sentence.

This was a historic case of sorts for the 1st District Court, its first penalty phase proceeding meaning the jury was here not to determine guilt but more broadly if he’s a risk to the public.

 Two victims took the stand providing emotional testimony of their account of what happened.
 
At one point, the jury was asked to leave the courtroom so one of them could compose themselves.
 

The defense held onto improvements in medicine to control HIV infections for leniency The State saying that’s irrelevant to his crimes Bodiford took the stand apologizing to the victims.

“I feel very very horrible about the situation I’ve learned my lesson I’ve never intended to hurt these women I cared for these women I’m not some monster,” Bodiford told the Judge and jury.

His sentence will ultimately be up to the judge who will take up the issue on May 17th.


 Published in WearTV on July 19th, 2019

REPORT: Court date set for man arrested for having sex without disclosing HIV status

A 26-year-old Escambia man arrested for having sex with at least three women and not informing them he was HIV positive has a court date.

RX has a court date set for August 2nd.

According to a report warrant, the incidents happened between September 2016 and October 2017 in Escambia County and Pensacola per the warrant.

X confessed to deputies he is HIV positive, the warrant stated.

A relative listed in the report stated she believed he’s known since 2012 of his sexual status.

Investigators believe there could be more victims.


Published in WearTV on Jan 29, 2018

Bond denied for HIV positive man accused of infecting women

Bond has been denied for an Escambia County man accused of not disclosing his positive HIV status to women he slept with. The bond hearing for 25-year-old RX was held Monday, January 29th.

In court, his docket day was rescheduled for April 18th. According to the State Attorney’s Office, a competency hearing will be scheduled between now and his scheduled docket day.

WEAR ABC 3 previously reported X was arrested in November 2017 for three felony counts of crimes against a person. According to the 2017 Escambia County Sheriff’s Office (ECSO) arrest report, at least three women who had unprotected sex with X told deputies he never warned them that he is HIV positive.

The report states X admitted he knew about his positive test result since September of 2016 and believes there are additional victims. As of January 2018 he remains in the Escambia County Jail under a $100,000 bond.

 

US: Woman charged with assault in Virginia for biting police officer

Woman accused of being HIV positive charged with assault for biting Virginia Beach Police officer
April 10, 2019

Source WKTR3, April 9, 2019

Woman accused of being HIV positive charged with assault for biting Virginia Beach Police officer

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A North Carolina woman is behind bars for allegedly assaulting a police officer.

On March 23, police said they were called to Alibis Bar and Grill on Holland Road after an intoxicated woman fell and needed medical assistance.

Once there, officers found two intoxicated women. The injured woman was then taken to the hospital.

Her friend, 47-year-old X, was arrested for public intoxication.

During the arrest, search warrants stated she became belligerent and combative.

She’s accused of biting an officer on the left forearm, breaking the skin and drawing blood. During the assault, she sustained a cut on her forehead.

The search warrant revealed that she’s allegedly HIV positive.

According to the court documents, detectives have requested her medical records to provide that she knew she was HIV positive prior to assaulting the officer.

She’s charged with assault on police officer, public intoxication, refuse ID to police, obstructing justice and malicious assault.

News 3 did try speaking with X, but she declined.

The 47-year-old is due back in court next month.

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