News from other sources
US: Pennsylvania woman who told ambulance workers she had HIV faces charge of aggravated assault for biting and spitting
Police: ATV crash victim assaulted medical personnel
A 28-year-old Freeland woman injured in a July 26 all-terrain vehicle crash reportedly spit at an ambulance worker and hospital doctor and bit a second ambulance employee.
Megan Crisante faces three counts each aggravated assault, simple assault and harassment by state police at Hazleton and was released on $25,000 unsecured bail Aug. 9 by Magisterial District Judge James Dixon, Hazle Twp.
Troopers first saw Crisante being loaded into the back of a Freeland ambulance at 268 Highland Main St., Hazle Twp., just before 7 a.m. that day. She was on a stretcher, covered in dirt, and appeared to be intoxicated and in an altered state of mind, arrest papers state. Troopers followed the ambulance to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Hazleton, and learned she spit on an EMS worker three times while claiming to have HIV and bit another ambulance worker during transport. The emergency department doctor said Crisante also spit at her.
Published in the Standard Speaker on Aug 18, 2017
UK: 25 year-old gay man sentenced to 7 years in jail for ‘reckless’ HIV transmission to two men
Nottingham man jailed for infecting lovers with HIV
Antonio Reyes-Minana sentenced to seven years after having unprotected sex with two men despite knowing he had virus
A man has been jailed for infecting two former lovers with HIV after purposely not telling them he had the virus.
Antonio Reyes-Minana, 25, of Nottingham, denied two counts of grievous bodily harm but was convicted by a jury last week of infecting his partners. On Tuesday he was jailed for seven years and told he would serve half behind bars and half on licence.
Nottingham crown court was told how, knowing he had been infected, Reyes-Minana had unprotected sex with the two men in 2008 and 2012 respectively. The victims found out they had the virus during routine screening in 2012.
Further tests revealed the same strain of the virus was present in Reyes-Minana and his two victims, and that transmission was likely to have happened during their relationships. Reyes-Minana was charged by police in 2015.
DS Andrew Hall, of Nottinghamshire police, said after the sentencing: “It has taken a long time to bring the case to court and we are pleased with the result today.
“The victims … gave evidence during the trial as Reyes-Minana had maintained his innocence but [they] can at least find some comfort in knowing that their offender now has to take responsibility for what he’s done. We hope this raises awareness of this issue and how important it is to disclose such medical conditions.”
A Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said: “Reyes-Minana withheld his HIV status from one partner and lied to the other. He lied about the nature of his relationships with the victims and tried to blame a third party for infecting them, insinuating that their allegations were part of a plot against him.
“However, scientific evidence supported the prosecution case that it was Reyes-Minana who had transmitted the virus to the victims. The victims gave important evidence during the trial to demonstrate how Reyes-Minana must have known he was taking the risk of transmitting HIV.”
Both victims were allowed to give evidence without being publicly identified.
The CPS spokesman said: “The consequences of Reyes-Minana’s actions will remain with his victims for the rest of their lives.”
Published in the Guardian on Aug 15, 2017
US: “Michael Johnson’s incarceration is an indictment of our society for our failures”
As a physician who has spent his career in correctional settings and providing health care to persons who are homeless, I have seen how racism, poverty and heterosexism form a Bermuda Triangle, creating a deadly trap for thousands of men and women. Sometimes the barriers are in our attitudes, but sometimes they are in our structures – especially public policy.
HIV criminalization laws in the United States were written at a time when we knew little of the virus, the epidemiology, or the disease. Missouri’s laws – and those in more than 30 other states – have not been updated with our much-improved knowledge of transmission and treatment.
HIV is not easily transmitted. With diagnosis and treatment, that risk is reduced to effectively zero. With diagnosis and treatment, HIV is a manageable disease, no longer a death sentence. The severe penalties of HIV-specific criminal codes spring from bias, misinformation and fear. They increase stigma, which drives testing and treatment underground and serves to spread HIV by discouraging people to know their status or to seek appropriate treatment if HIV-positive.
Michael Johnson is a man trapped in the Bermuda Triangle of our racism, sexism and heterosexism. An African-American gay man from Indianapolis who grew up in poverty, Johnson struggled against the barriers that our society erects. By perseverance and hard work, despite a learning disability, he managed to access an opportunity for college education through a wrestling scholarship.
Then Missouri’s outdated and flawed policies intervened in Johnson’s life. He was convicted and sentenced to more than 30 years in prison for “reckless exposure and transmission of HIV” in July 2016.
The conviction was overturned, however, on December 20, 2016, based on the state’s failure to comply with Johnson’s discovery request and his inability to prepare a meaningful defense. He has now been returned to St. Charles County and has pled not guilty as the process of a re-trial gets underway.
Michael Johnson has already spent over three years incarcerated for his alleged actions. I teach our medical students at Saint Louis University not only about HIV, but also about health equity, health literacy, the effect of repetitive and cumulative trauma, and other social determinants of health. These are the influences that shape, for good or ill, an individual’s ability to thrive and flourish. Continued incarceration is unlikely to create conditions for Johnson’s future success, nor does it improve society in any way.
Johnson’s incarceration is an indictment of our society for our failures, and we would do well to heed the lessons we can learn and change our direction. Race, class, and sexual orientation continue to divide our nation, and we see dramatic results of our responses to these topics in our physical and virtual communities with some frequency.
The massacre at Pulse, the night club in Orlando, is perhaps the most shocking recent example. Ignorance can breed fear, which, in turn, can breed hatred. But this process is not inevitable. We can slow down and alter this process through our words and our actions.
We all have the power to influence others. As Michael Johnson faces the next step of his legal journey, we have the power to frame public and private discussion around him and the issues surrounding his case. We should honor Michael Johnson, ourselves and our community by pursuing knowledge, reflecting on our biases, and carefully selecting our vocabulary. We can choose to always use language about Johnson that respects his full humanity.
We ought to do even more. We should seek medically accurate information about HIV and use our power as citizens to change public policy so that it is based on medical science. We should end the stigma of being HIV-positive and encourage Missourians to be tested and treated. The impact of that change would create a healthier and safer world for all of us.
Fred Rottnek, MD, MAHCM, is the director of Community Medicine and Professor in the Family and Community Medicine at Saint Louis University. As the previous medical director of Corrections Medicine for the Saint Louis County Department of Public Health, his clinical practice for the past 15 years was at the Buzz Westfall Justice Center and Family Courts.
Published in St Louis American on Aug 15, 2017
Zimbabwe: Woman living with HIV on trial for alleged HIV exposure
Conflicting statements as couple’s HIV infection squabble spills into court
A GWANDA man has dragged his former wife to court alleging that she deliberately infected him with HIV. The woman, who appeared before regional magistrate Mr Chrispen Mberewere last week facing a charge of deliberate transmission of HIV, alleged the man demanded unprotected sex after alleging he was immune to the virus.
The man, who cannot be named together with his wife for ethical reasons, told a court the woman deliberately hid her HIV status from him and later demanded unprotected sex.
Opening the State case, the man told the court that he believed the woman was negative when she showed him HIV test results that she obtained two years before they met.
“She said she did not enjoy protected sex and since her results from long ago showed she was negative I believed her. At one time she said she had run out of condoms and we then had unprotected sex,” said the man.
“I asked her several times and she said she was negative. We once went to see a traditional healer when she had sores on her cervix and she reiterated that she is negative.” In her defence outline, the accused said she told her former husband of her HIV status before they engaged in a sexual relationship.
“He consented to sex appreciating the nature of HIV and the possibility of becoming infected. He actually said despite two of his former girlfriends having been positive he never contracted the virus,” she said. “At one point he told me to stop taking my ARVs as they would weaken his immune system and I consented. For the first three months of the relationship we were using condoms but after he paid lobola, he demanded a child saying he won’t be affected by the disease.”
The woman narrated how she suffered side effects after defaulting on her medication and started developing sores which were unattractive to her husband. “He started cheating on me and that is when I decided to revert to my medication. He started spreading rumours about me and disclosing my status. I confronted him and he assaulted me,” she said.
The accused added that the report was a bid to fix her and deprive her of her personal property. Magistrate Mberewere remanded the woman out of custody to August 25.
Prosecutors allege that during the tenure of their relationship which lasted for a year, the woman deliberately slept with her husband knowing there was a possibility she would infect him.
“The man went for tests twice in 2016 and tested negative. Investigations, however, revealed that the woman tested positive in 2011,” they said.
“The accused had no right to have unprotected sexual intercourse with complainant well knowing that she was infected,” said the prosecutor.
Canada: Cases of HIV non disclosure on the rise in Quebec
Cases of non-disclosure of HIV rising in the courts
In the last two months alone, three new cases of non-disclosure of HIV-positive status have been prosecuted in Quebec. This increase contrasts with past practices and has alreted the advocacy groups of people living with HIV who fear a paradigm shift.
“Between 1998 and 2012, there were 21 cases, followed by 10 cases from 2012 to 2016, which was already a significant increase,” said Liz Lacharpagne, a lawyer with the Coalition of Quebec Community Organizations to Fight AIDS (COCQ-SIDA) . Three cases in two months are unheard of for the Canadian Coalition for HIV Criminalization Reform (CCRCV), of which Ms. Lacharpagne is a member, and that is why this coalition intends to urge the federal Department of Justice to act Before the trend worsens.
Individuals who do not disclose their HIV status when there is a possibility of transmitting HIV to their partner may be subject to criminal charges in Canada. The problem is that this judicial response is not limited to the transmission of HIV, according to the CCRCV, which therefore finds it inappropriate.
Canada is the only country in the world to treat non-disclosure of HIV status as a serious sexual assault. To date, there have been nearly 200 charges laid for non-disclosure in Canada. In the majority of cases where the complaint led to a conviction, HIV was not transmitted.
The fact itself of not informing one’s partner is considered as sexual assault. “The average prison sentence for a person convicted of offenses related to” The non-disclosure of HIV is 54 months – more than double the average sentence for sexual assault (24 months), ” notes the Canadian HIV / AIDS Legal Network. “A discriminatory situation that ignores scientific data on HIV and international recommendations such as those of UNAIDS,” says Liz Lacharpagne.
Chad Clarke felt the ground slipping under his feet when he learned that a warrant was being issued against him. He went to the authorities and then pleaded guilty. “To have a lesser sentence,” he says. Liable to 15 years in prison, he was sentenced to four years. “If I had understood that I would be a life-long sex offender, I would not have pleaded guilty,” he said six years after his release. Chad says he did not know he was HIV positive. In prison he had difficulty accessing appropriate medical care. No antiretroviral treatment for several weeks, no blood test for more than two years. Today, he is on the National Sex Offender Registry and cannot find a job.
Alexander McClelland, a PhD student in sociology at Concordia University, is conducting research on the impacts of a non-disclosure conviction. Of the 14 people he looked at, “none was aware of putting his/her partner in danger. Sometimes the doctor explained that because their viral load was undetectable, there was no risk of transmission. “Others were not always able to impose condom use on their partner. He reports in particular the case of a sex worker who is HIV-positive as a result of rape.
“She recounts that she insisted that her client wear a condom, he refused. She was intoxicated at the time of the act, which diminished her ability to impose it on him. In court, her words did not weigh much. Of all the consequences documented by the researcher, the trauma associated with being labelled a sex offender is the heaviest. Like Liz Lacharpagne, Alexander McClelland believes that criminalization could deter people from being screened, according to the logic that, if one is unaware of one’s HIV status, one can not be accused of non-disclosure.
Consultation in progress
These judicial subtleties were first echoed in Ottawa. In December 2016, Jody Wilson-Raybould, the Canadian Minister of Justice, stated that “… disproportionate criminalization of non-disclosure of HIV status discourages many people from testing and being treated […]. The criminal justice system in Canada must adapt to better reflect the available scientific evidence …. A working group of stakeholders is currently working on a reform. Nothing, however, has yet emerged from their work.
For its part, the CCRCV is conducting a pan-Canadian consultation with about 40 organizations to reach consensus on recommendations to the government. “We do not know, at this point, what the best way to reform is, but we know what needs to be done,” said Nicholas Caivano, a policy analyst with the Canadian HIV / AIDS Legal Network. Criminalization should be applied only in cases where there is a proven intention of transmission, never when precautions preventing transmission have been made, and the charge of sexual assault should never be used in a case of non-disclosure . ”
While awaiting the criminal justice reform (under the federal Department of Justice), the CCRCV does not rule out a moratorium on prosecutions (which falls to the provinces). “There is a lack of awareness of the problem among prosecutors,” says Liz Lacharpagne. Guidelines are needed to ensure that prosecutions are conducted in an informed manner, taking into account scientific advances. ”
In Quebec, at the office of the Minister of Justice, Stéphanie Vallée, they would not comment on the progress of the work, preferring to rely on the federal government. The federal Department of Justice declined our request for an interview, deeming any discussion premature in the circumstances. “This work, which includes an extensive review of the criminal law, the role of public health, applicable medical sciences, and current charges and prosecution practices, is underway.”
Behind the jurisprudence
The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) established in 1998 that an HIV-positive person must disclose his or her status before having sex with a significant risk of transmission. Non-disclosure is considered as fraud in relation to the partner’s consent. Non-consensual sex is considered as a sexual assault. In 2012, Mabior established the concept of “realistic possibility” of transmission. The CSC considers that this possibility is not established if the viral load is low and if a condom is used. Implicitly, if only one of these two criteria is met, there is a “realistic possibility”. This is contradicted by science.
The Partner study was conducted between 2010 and 2013 among 767 serodiscordant couples. On average, at the beginning of the study, HIV-positive partners had been receiving antiretroviral therapy for five years. Couples had had sex without a condom for two years. With a total of 44,000 condomless relationships, no transmission occurred.
La non-divulgation du VIH en hausse devant les tribunaux
14 août 2017 Sophie Mangado
Au cours des deux derniers mois seulement, trois nouveaux cas de non-divulgation de séropositivité ont fait l’objet de poursuites au Québec. Cette augmentation tranche avec les pratiques passées et alarme les groupes de défense des personnes vivant avec le VIH, qui redoutent un changement de paradigme.
« Entre 1998 et 2012, on a recensé 21 cas, puis 10 de 2012 à 2016, ce qui était déjà une augmentation significative », relève Liz Lacharpagne, avocate à la Coalition des organismes communautaires québécois de lutte contre le sida (COCQ-SIDA). Trois cas en deux mois, c’est du jamais vu pour la Coalition canadienne pour réformer la criminalisation du VIH (CCRCV), dont Mme Lacharpagne est membre, et c’est pourquoi cette coalition entend presser le ministère fédéral de la Justice d’agir avant que la tendance ne s’emporte.
Les personnes qui ne divulguent pas leur séropositivité alors qu’il y a possibilité qu’elles transmettent le VIH à leur partenaire peuvent faire l’objet d’accusations criminelles au Canada. Le problème, c’est que cette réponse judiciaire ne limite pas la transmission du VIH, selon la CCRCV, qui la juge donc inappropriée.
Le Canada est le seul pays au monde à considérer comme une agression sexuelle grave la non-divulgation de séropositivité. Jusqu’à présent, on a recensé au Canada près de 200 accusations portées pour non-divulgation. Dans une majorité de cas où la plainte a mené à une condamnation, le VIH n’a pas été transmis.
C’est le fait de ne pas informer son partenaire qui est reconnu comme une agression sexuelle. « La peine moyenne d’emprisonnement pour une personne declaree coupable d’infractions relatives à la non-divulgation du VIH est de 54 mois — plus du double de la peine moyenne pour agression sexuelle (24 mois) », relève le Réseau juridique canadien VIH/sida. « Une situation discriminatoire qui ignore les données scientifiques sur le VIHet les recommandations internationales telles que celle de l’ONUSIDA », estime Liz Lacharpagne.
Chad Clarke a senti le sol se dérober sous ses pieds quand il a appris qu’un mandat d’arrêt pesait contre lui. Il s’est présenté aux autorités, puis a plaidé coupable. « Pour avoir une peine moins lourde », raconte-t-il. Passible de 15 ans de prison, il écope de quatre ans. « Si j’avais compris que je serais fiché à vie comme délinquant sexuel, je n’aurais pas plaidé coupable », dit-il six ans après sa libération. Chad affirme qu’il ne se savait pas porteur du VIH. En prison, il a eu difficilement accès aux soins médicaux appropriés. Pas de traitement antirétroviral pendant plusieurs semaines, pas de test sanguin pendant plus de deux ans. Aujourd’hui, fiché au registre national des délinquants sexuels, il ne trouve pas d’emploi.
Doctorant en sociologie à l’Université Concordia, Alexander McClelland mène une recherche sur les impacts d’une condamnation pour non-divulgation. Des 14 personnes dont il a examiné la trajectoire, « aucune n’avait conscience de mettre son partenaire en danger. Parfois, le médecin leur avait expliqué que leur charge virale étant indétectable, il n’y avait pas de risque de transmission. » D’autres n’étaient pas toujours en mesure d’imposer le port du condom à leur partenaire. Il rapporte notamment le cas d’une travailleuse du sexe, séropositive à la suite d’un viol.
« Elle relate avoir insisté auprès de son client pour qu’il porte un condom, il a refusé. Elle était intoxiquée au moment de l’acte, ce qui diminuait ses capacités à le lui imposer. En cour, sa parole n’a pas pesé lourd. » De toutes les séquelles documentées par le chercheur, le traumatisme associé au fait de se voir étiqueter délinquant sexuel est la plus lourde. Tout comme Liz Lacharpagne, Alexander McClelland estime que la criminalisation pourrait dissuader des personnes de se faire dépister, suivant la logique que, si on ignore son statut sérologique, on ne peut être taxé de non-divulgation.
Consultation en cours
Ces délicatesses judiciaires ont trouvé un premier écho à Ottawa. En décembre 2016, la ministre de la Justice du Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould, déclarait que « […] la criminalisation disproportionnée de la non-divulgation de la séropositivité décourage bon nombre de personnes de passer des tests de dépistage et de se faire traiter […]. Le système de justice pénale au Canada doit s’adapter pour mieux refléter les données scientifiques disponibles[…]. » Un groupe de travail réunissant les acteurs concernés travaille actuellement à une réforme. Rien toutefois de concret n’en est encore ressorti de leurs travaux.
De son côté, la CCRCV mène une consultation pancanadienne auprès d’une quarantaine d’organisations pour établir un consensus sur les recommandations à adresser au gouvernement. « Nous ne savons pas, à ce stade-ci, quelle serait la meilleure façon de réformer, mais nous savons ce qui doit l’être, commente Nicholas Caivano, analyste des politiques au Réseau juridique canadien VIH/sida. La criminalisation ne doit s’appliquer que dans des cas d’intention avérée de transmission, jamais lorsque des précautions empêchant la transmission ont été prises, et on ne doit jamais recourir à l’accusation d’agression sexuelle dans un cas de non-divulgation. »
En attendant une réforme du droit criminel (relevant du ministère de la Justice fédéral), la CCRCV n’exclut pas de demander un moratoire sur les poursuites (incombant aux provinces). « On observe une méconnaissance de la problématique chez les procureurs, dit Liz Lacharpagne. On souhaiterait des directives pour que les poursuites soient menées de manière éclairée, en tenant compte des avancées scientifiques. »
À Québec, au bureau de la ministre de la Justice, Stéphanie Vallée, on se garde de tout commentaire sur l’avancée des travaux, préférant s’en remettre au fédéral. Le ministère fédéral de la Justice a décliné notre demande d’entrevue, jugeant toute prise de parole prématurée dans les circonstances. « Ce travail, qui comporte un vaste examen du droit pénal, du rôle de la santé publique, des sciences médicales applicables et des pratiques d’inculpation et de poursuite actuelles, est en cours », ont-ils fait valoir par courriel.
Derrière la jurisprudence
La Cour suprême du Canada (CSC) a établi en 1998 qu’une personne séropositive doit divulguer son statut avant une relation sexuelle exposant à un risque important de transmission. La non-divulgation est considérée comme une fraude au consentement du partenaire. Une relation sexuelle non consentie est considérée comme une agression sexuelle. En 2012, l’arrêt Mabior instaure la notion de « possibilité réaliste » de transmission. La CSC considère que cette possibilité n’est pas établie si la charge virale est faible et si un condom est utilisé. Implicitement, si seul l’un de ces deux critères est rempli, il y a « possibilité réaliste ». Ce que la science contredit.
À la traîne de la science
L’étude Partner a été menée entre 2010 et 2013 auprès de 767 couples sérodiscordants. En moyenne, au début de l’étude, les partenaires séropositifs suivaient une thérapie antirétrovirale depuis cinq ans. Les couples avaient des relations sexuelles sans condom depuis deux ans. Avec un total de 44 000 relations sans condom, aucune transmission n’a eu lieu.
Published in Le Devoir, on August 14, 2017
Honduras: Journalist in Honduras arrested for allegedly transmitting tuberculosis and HIV to neighbours
Police Department arrested “Laura” for allegedly transmitting HIV-Aids to his Neighbours
Those affected said that he infected them on purpose
Bay Islands, Honduras
Officials of the Investigative Police Directorate (DPI), arrested Ramón Moisés Argueta Fino (30) known as “Laura” on Thursday for allegedly infecting several of his neighbours with HIV and tuberculosis.
According to information held by the authorities, “Laura” was reported by her neighbours in El Swampo, Roatán, who presented with the symptoms of tuberculosis; Those affected said that it was he who infected them on purpose.
Therefore, the IPR began with the investigations of the case to determine the responsibility of Argueta Fino, who is originally from Jutiapa, in the country of Atlántida.
“Laura” was apprehended following a search warrant, which was issued by the Departmental Court of the Bahia Islands.
The citizen was then referred to the Office of the Public Prosecutor on duty accused of the crime of spreading diseases to the detriment of the Health of the State of Honduras.
DPI capturan a “Laura” por infectar con VIH-Sida a sus vecinos
Los afectados aseguraron que fue él quien los contagió a propósito
Islas de la Bahía , Honduras
Agentes de la Dirección Policial de Investigaciones (DPI), capturaron este jueves a Ramón Moisés Argueta Fino (30) conocido como “Laura” señalado por varios de sus vecinos de haberlos supuestamente contagiado con VIH y tuberculosis.
De acuerdo a la información en poder de las autoridades, “Laura” fue denunciado por sus vecinos de El Swampo, Roatán, que presentan los síntomas de tuberculosis; los afectados aseguraron que fue él quien los contagió a propósito.
En ese sentido, la DPI comenzó con las investigaciones del caso para determinar la responsabilidad de Argueta Fino, quien es originario de Jutiapa, departamento de Atlántida.
Lea además: HONDURAS: Cifra estable de infectados con VIH-SIDA (VIDEO)
“Laura” fue aprehendido en seguimiento de una orden de captura. La cual fu emitida por el Juzgado de Letras Departamental de Islas de la Bahía.
Acto seguido, el ciudadano fue remitido a la Fiscalía de turno acusado del delito de propagación en enfermedades en perjuicio de la Salud del Estado de Honduras.
France: Man living with HIV under investigation for alleged HIV non-disclosure and HIV-transmission
Paris: Man under investigation for transmitting HIV to his girlfriend (Google translation. For original article in French, see below)
The man, who had known his HIV status for at least ten years, told the investigators that he had hidden his condition from his companion because he was afraid she would leave him.
Richard, 36, was charged on Friday for knowingly passing the HIV virus to his ex-companion, Le Parisien reported on Wednesday. He was released but placed under judicial control.
A hidden status in order not to lose his companion.
The thirty-year-old explained that he was so in love with the young woman that he had not dared to tell her about his state of health, “for fear of losing her,” a source close to the case told Le Parisien. The young woman filed a complaint after learning during blood tests in 2016 that she had contracted HIV. Her former companion, whom she had immediately contacted for explanations, spontaneously confessed to her that he had hidden his HIV-positive status that he had known for at least ten years.
Transmission and harassment.
Richard was summoned to the police station on Wednesday before being placed in police custody. During his interrogation, he recognized the facts as well as the messages sent to the young woman after their break. He asserts that these were proofs of love. He was also indicted for “harassment” and “sending repetitive malicious messages”.
Already with a delicate past. Richard, a former drug addict, is known to the police for cases of violence, robbery, burglary and also narcotics between 1987 and 2006. The continuing the investigation will determine whether further voluntary transmission occurred.
L’homme, qui connaissait sa séropositivité depuis au moins dix ans, a affirmé aux enquêteurs qu’il avait caché son état à sa compagne de peur qu’elle ne le quitte.
Richard, 36 ans, a été mis en examen vendredi pour avoir transmis sciemment le virus du Sida à son ex-compagne, rapporte Le Parisien mercredi. Il a été remis en liberté mais placé sous contrôle judiciaire.
Une séropositivité cachée pour ne pas perdre sa compagne. Le trentenaire a expliqué avoir été tellement amoureux de la jeune femme qu’il n’avait pas osé la mettre au courant de son état de santé, “de peur de la perdre”, a expliqué une source proche du dossier au Parisien. La jeune femme a porté plainte après avoir appris lors d’analyses de sang en 2016 qu’elle avait contracté le VIH. Son ancien compagnon, qu’elle avait immédiatement contacté pour avoir des explications, lui avait spontanément avoué qu’il lui avait caché sa séropositivité qu’il connaissait depuis au moins dix ans.
Contamination et harcèlement. Dans le cadre de ce dossier, transmis à la PJ parisienne, Richard a été convoqué au commissariat mercredi avant d’être placé en garde à vue. Pendant son interrogatoire, il a reconnu les faits ainsi que les messages envoyés à la jeune femme après leur rupture. Il affirme qu’il s’agissait de preuves d’amour. Il a également été mis en examen pour “harcèlement” et “envois réitérés de messages malveillants”.
Déjà un passé délictueux. Richard, ancien toxicomane, est déjà connu des services de police pour des affaires de violences, de vols, de cambriolages et aussi de stupéfiants entre 1987 et 2006. La poursuite de l’enquête permettra de déterminer si d’autres contaminations volontaires ont eu lieu.
Published in Europe1, on Aug 10, 2017
Canada: Richard Elliott, Executive Director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, explores the history of HIV criminalisation in Canada and asks fellow Canadians to support their call for HIV Justice
How everyone living with HIV in Canada became a potential criminal
Add your voice to the growing call for prosecutorial guidelines today
Aug 08, 2017, 8:44 PM EDT
I couldn’t believe it, and yet I shouldn’t have been surprised, given what I knew.
A friend of mine had just been informed that his HIV test was confirmed positive. And in that moment, as my friend’s life changed forever, the well-meaning doctor tried awkwardly to fill the silence — with some remarks about how my friend could be criminally charged if he didn’t disclose his status to every sexual partner.
As a lawyer well-versed in this area of law, I knew why the doctor was saying that. In a decision the year before (in September 1998), the Supreme Court of Canada had confirmed that someone with HIV could be prosecuted for aggravated assault for not disclosing to a sexual partner, at least in some circumstances.
I also knew that what the doctor was saying wasn’t entirely correct because precisely which circumstances trigger a legal duty to disclose HIV were still unclear then — and the issue remains contentious to this day, nearly 20 years later.
Legal issues aside, it’s wrong to greet newly diagnosed people with a threat that they could go to jail if they don’t disclose. But my friend’s experience is not unique. Many physicians and public health nurses are quick to inform people that they must disclose and use condoms (each and every time
regardless of what the actual risks of transmission might be in a given instance) — and that if they don’t, there’s the risk of possible criminal charges.
And, of course, each time police issue a press release with the name and photo of someone accused of not disclosing, every person living with HIV is reminded that they live under the shadow of possible prosecution — and accompanying trial in the court of public opinion — that could be just one allegation away.
How did we reach the point where every person living with HIV is considered a potential criminal?
The early years of the epidemic
To answer that question, we need to go back to the early years of the HIV epidemic, and consider the combination of factors that contributed to the criminalization of HIV in the first place and how these factors have shaped its evolution since.
We start in North America in the early– to mid–1980s with the basic ingredients: A frightening new, and apparently communicable, disease that progresses rapidly, most often to death, with no known effective treatment and a lack of information — even active misinformation in some quarters — about how it spreads. The resulting fear of contagion sparks an understandable human impulse to contain, to distance, and to avoid harm, whether real or simply perceived.
Add several layers of inequality and misguided morality, because the epidemic is particularly identified in marginalized populations already subject to social disapproval and state surveillance. Gay sex, blamed early on for the spread of AIDS, had only been decriminalized a few years earlier in Canada (and remained a crime in many US states), and of course gay people were still widely stigmatized across the continent. Sex workers remain heavily stigmatized, and criminalized, to this day.
Infections were also appearing among people who inject drugs, who already carried the deep stigma of addiction and were also facing a deliberately intensified “war on drugs,” a program of criminal prohibition and incarceration rooted in and reinforcing what was already a centuries-long history of racismagainst Black and Indigenous people in North America.
HIV therefore entered the public consciousness as a disease of perceived deviance, whether in relation to sex, drugs or both.
Now, add a handful of ostensible cases of “wilful HIV transmission” sensationalized in media reports that often reinforced the same prejudices and assumptions about sexuality, gender, race, sex work and drug use. (Consider, for example, the front page of the Halifax Chronicle Herald in late September 1988— “AIDS Fiend Strikes Again” — which kicked off its coverage of a “bisexual AIDS carrier” charged in the first Canadian criminal prosecution for HIV nondisclosure to a sexual partner.)
Finally, throw in some prosecutors and legislators acting from a variety of motives. Some are no doubt well-intentioned, acting out of a legitimate concern about trying to prevent the harm of further infection. But there are also plenty of moral entrepreneurs perfectly willing or eager to seize upon a new disease as “proof” of degeneracy, or cite a sensational media case as evidence of the need for a “tough” response to protect society.
It’s therefore no surprise that, within a few years of what was later called the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) being identified in 1983, a new front opened up in the emerging epidemic: the resort to criminal law as a tool to respond to the perceived threat to public health.
It’s also no surprise that the same pre-existing prejudices that pushed a criminal response onto a health epidemic saw the criminal justice system quickly go overboard in applying those laws.
And that’s exactly what has played out in many countries, including Canada.
The rulings begin
Canada witnessed its first prosecution for HIV nondisclosure to a sexual partner in 1988 in the R v Wentzell case. Responding to a small but growing number of cases and with no clear legal precedent to apply, prosecutors pursued convictions using various crimes in the Criminal Code, seeing what would stick. Charges laid included “criminal negligence causing bodily harm,” being a “common nuisance” by endangering the health and safety of the public, and “administering a noxious thing” (ie. semen containing HIV). And in a handful of cases, prosecutors pursued charges for assault or sexual assault.
Many of these early prosecutions in Canada resulted in guilty pleas. The handful of cases that actually went to trial saw mixed results from different courts. But in the early 1990s, one case set the stage for the past two decades of growing HIV criminalization.
The case, R v Cuerrier, began in a BC court in 1992 and eventually reached the Supreme Court of Canada in 1998. This was the first chance for the country’s highest court to decide if not disclosing your HIV-positive status to a sexual partner might be a crime —and specifically, an assault.
The Supreme Court decided that there is no blanket duty to disclose your HIV-positive status to a sexual partner, unless you’re having sex that carries a “significant risk of serious bodily harm.” The court ruled that not revealing your HIV status in that case counts as “fraud,” which means your partner’s consent to sex isn’t legally valid, and therefore you have assaulted them. But the court failed to clearly define what counts as a “significant risk” of transmission. (It did suggest that using condoms might lower the risk enough that it wasn’t “significant,” which led to many lawyers arguing about “protected” versus “unprotected” sex in courts over the next few years.)
Guilty pleas and convictions began to accumulate more rapidly in the years following the Supreme Court decision. The charge most frequently laid has been “aggravated sexual assault,” one of the most serious offences included in the Criminal Code. (The maximum penalty upon conviction for this offence is life imprisonment, plus mandatory registration as a sex offender.)
And because the Supreme Court’s ruling required only that there be a “significant risk” of transmission — not actual transmission — a substantial majority of prosecutions and convictions in Canada to date involve allegations of exposure to HIV. In the majority of known prosecutions, HIV has not actually been transmitted.
In fact, over nearly 20 years of documented prosecutions in Canada, many prosecutions have involved zero to minimal risk of actual HIV transmission.
In 2012, a pair of appeals — one from Manitoba, the other from Quebec — brought the issue back before the Supreme Court of Canada, but the rulings were a profound disappointment. The court said there is a “significant risk of serious bodily harm” when there is a “realistic possibility” of transmitting HIV. But despite stating that it didn’t want to criminalize people in cases where there was only a small possibility of transmission, it nonetheless did so — and a number of other courts have followed suit.
The rulings have also raised more questions about what counts as a “realistic possibility” of transmission, and when a person with HIV has done enough to reduce that possibility so that they are no longer criminals if they don’t disclose their status. The Court seemed to backtrack dangerously on its earlier suggestion that using a condom might be adequate to lower the risk so that no disclosure would be required; this remains an ongoing fight in some court cases.
And to this day it remains a live issue whether someone who has a low or undetectable viral load is a criminal if they don’t disclose their status This aspect of the law continues to evolve, given the additional scientific evidence emerging about the effectiveness of anti-HIV drugs and the reality that the risk of transmission from someone living with HIV with an undetectable viral load is nearly zero. The result is that the law is still unclear, courts are still reaching contradictory conclusions — and people living with HIV are still being prosecuted for a very serious criminal offence, for not disclosing their HIV status even where there is zero risk or an exceedingly small risk of transmission.
But people are resisting the ongoing miscarriages of justice. Human rights groups, people living with HIV, and community organizations are going to court and speaking out in the court of public opinion. We are picketing outside courthouses, and protesting in front of the attorney general’s office in Ontario. We are taking action online to send a message to politicians, and meeting with them to lobby face-to-face.
Health care providers are outlining the many ways in which the climate of fear, misinformation and stigma created by these prosecutions makes their work of preventing HIV, and encouraging HIV testing, more difficult.
Scientists are also getting involved. Dozens of leading Canadian scientific experts on HIV have issued a consensus statement on what the science tells us about the possibility of transmission through various sexual acts. They are concerned that the criminal justice system’s approach to this issue is increasingly out of step with the available science.
Women’s rights advocates and feminist legal scholars are increasingly expressing concern about how using sexual assault to prosecute allegations of HIV nondisclosure is both being driven by HIV stigma (including against women living with HIV), and also risks damaging some important, hard-won protections in sexual assault law.
And thanks to the work of advocates such as the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, on World AIDS Day 2016, Canada’s federal justice minister made a historic statement publicly recognizing the problem of over-criminalization of HIV, and committing to look at options to address it, including in discussions with provincial governments, scientific experts and communities affected.
For years, advocates have urged provincial attorneys general to use their clear legal authority to adopt sound guidelines for prosecutors, reflecting solid science and a concern for protecting human rights, that would limit, in practice, the cases in which charges are pursued.
Guidelines could help forestall prosecutions in cases where a condom is used, for example, or where a person living with HIV has a low or undetectable viral load, or only had oral sex — because the possibility of transmission in such cases isn’t substantial enough to warrant using the harsh, blunt tool of the criminal law. (These aren’t the only circumstances where there should be no prosecutions, just some obvious examples of what guidelines could address.)
Guidelines could also require prosecutors to ensure that scientific experts are consulted about the actual possibility of transmission, and to have to justify why a prosecution should proceed if the science doesn’t establish a substantial risk.
Guidelines could address important practical issues such as releasing people on bail pending a trial, how prosecutors should avoid contributing to media sensationalism about cases, and sentencing requests by prosecutors in the event of a conviction. This sort of measure has been taken in the United Kingdom, leading to a measurable reduction in prosecutions where they were inappropriate. It should be part of the solution to the problem of overcriminalization in Canada too.
The campaign for prosecutorial guidelines has been particularly focused on Ontario, the worst offender in Canada when it comes to overly broad prosecutions. A loose coalition of HIV organizations and people living with HIV, the Ontario Working Group on Criminal Law and HIV Exposure (of which our organization is a member), has been leading that effort, including putting forward numerous recommendations for prosecutorial guidelines in 2011.
Yet those proposals have been flatly disregarded. Successive attorneys general in Ontario have so far refused to adopt any sound guidelines for prosecutors.
But community activists continue to build pressure. And while discussions continue between the federal, provincial and territorial governments about ways to limit unjust use of the criminal law, we are calling for an immediate moratorium on prosecutions for HIV nondisclosure, except in cases where it is alleged that someone intentionally infected someone with HIV.
Prosecutorial guidelines won’t be a panacea, but they could have a substantial impact in limiting unjust prosecutions. No doubt other measures will be needed as well. We may even need to get the federal government to change the Criminal Code to stop prosecutions for HIV nondisclosure as “sexual assault” and more narrowly define the circumstances in which there may be some criminal offence — a step that needs to be considered and done very carefully, with commitment from the federal justice minister and in consultation with community advocates and legal experts, in order to achieve this desired outcome.
But unless and until we get attorneys general and their prosecutors, as well as the police, to stop laying and prosecuting charges for alleged HIV nondisclosure as widely as they have been doing for the last two decades, the shadow of unjust criminalization will continue to hang over all people living with HIV in Canada.
It will also continue to undermine truly effective HIV prevention efforts, as federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould publicly recognized last December. “The over-criminalization of HIV nondisclosure discourages many individuals from being tested and seeking treatment, and further stigmatizes those living with HIV or AIDS,” she said.
So join the call from the Ontario coalition for a moratorium on prosecutions and for sound prosecutorial guidelines. Add your voice to the growing demands for HIV justice by sending a message to Ontario’s Attorney General Yasir Naqvi.
Help us stop the witch-hunt.
Richard Elliott is the executive director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (aidslaw.ca), which works to protect and promote the human rights of people living with HIV and of communities particularly affected by the epidemic.
[Update]US: 3 years sentence for Indiana man already sentenced to three years in another county for alleged HIV non-disclosure
Northern Indiana man gets 3 years for withholding HIV status
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — A northern Indiana man has been sentenced to three years in prison for having sex with women and not telling them he was HIV-positive.
Thirty-seven-year-old Travis Spoor of Silver Lake was sentenced Wednesday in Allen Superior Court after pleading guilty to three counts of malicious mischief in June.
Online court and prison records show Spoor is awaiting trial on the same charge in Marshall County and has been convicted of the same offence in Kosciusko County.
Court records show several women have told police similar stories about meeting Spoor online and engaging in sexual relationships with him, not knowing of his HIV status.
Silver lake is a Kosciusko County town about 40 miles west of Fort Wayne.
Published on Aug 9, 2017 in the Bristol Herald Courrier
New unprotected sex charge filed against HIV-positive man
A man awaiting sentencing for having unprotected sex with three Allen County women without informing them of his HIV-positive status beforehand has been charged with the same crime against another Allen County woman.
Travis R. Spoor, 37, was charged Thursday in Allen Superior Court with one count of malicious mischief, a Level 6 felony, according to court records.
Spoor, who has listed addresses in Silver Lake and in the 2600 block of Belfast Drive here locally, allegedly had unprotected sex with an Allen County woman from April 27, 2016 to July 4, 2016 without Spoor telling her he was HIV-positive, according to a probable-cause affidavit.
The woman contacted Indiana State Police after she saw Channel 15’s Facebook page post about Spoor last December. She said she met Spoor through the dating website OKCupid.com on April 25, 2016. He allegedly used the name Travis Holderman, and she did a criminal background check on that name. When nothing showed up, she said she never thought again about it, the affidavit said.
The woman said they had about 10 dates between April 27, 2016 and May 11, 2016 and allegedly had unprotected sex five to six times. She said they resumed their relationship June 15, 2016 to July 4, 2016, allegedly having unprotected sex another five to six times, the affidavit said.
The woman told police she asked Spoor to wear protection, but he allegedly refused and his HIV-positive status was not mentioned.
Spoor was diagnosed with HIV-1/HIV-2 combination, plus HIV-1 Western on Dec. 22, 2012 and signed a duty to warn on Jan. 3, 2013. Spoor also signed on Oct. 21, 2015, a post-test counseling form from the Indiana State Department of Health indicating he is prohibited from engaging in sexual contact with anyone without first informing them of his HIV-positive status.
Spoor is awaiting an Aug. 2 sentencing for having unprotected sex with three Allen County women without telling them of his HIV-positive status.
Spoor also was charged with the same offense in Kosciusko and Marshall counties.
Published on July 20, 2017 in the News Sentinel
HIV positive man charged after spreading it to multiple women
July 6, 2017
MARSHALL COUNTY — A Marshall county man accused of spreading HIV to multiple women was sentenced Thursday.
Travis Spoor was charged with three counts of malicious mischief. He plead guilty to all three counts.
According to court documents, he was dating multiple women between 2013 and now. All of those women say they saw him taking medication but he never said it was for HIV.
Spoor’s defense attorney, David Kolbe, says he is very apologetic for his actions.The only thing the defense team could do was to enter a plea deal. “There was no defense to the actions by Travis to engage in sexual intercourse with a number of females without advising that he was HIV positive,” said Kolbe.
Kolbe says Spoor had to accept full responsibility for his actions. Kolbe also represents him in the case against him in Marshall County.
Published on July 6, 2017 in WSBT 22
Man admits not telling women he was HIV positive
The Journal Gazette|
Travis R. Spoor, 37, made contact with his victims on dating websites, although he met one in late 2007 or early 2008 through a mutual friend. They then encountered each other again on a dating website, according to court documents.
The plea agreement calls for Spoor to be sentenced to one year on each of three counts of malicious mischief, to be served consecutively, for a total of three years.
Sentencing is set for Aug. 2.
In 2013, Spoor signed a duty-to-warn document in accordance with Indiana law that says people with dangerous communicable diseases have an obligation to warn others they might put at risk.
One woman told police she had consensual sex with Spoor at his Fort Wayne home and at her out of county home through February 2016 when she saw a photo of Spoor with his ex-girlfriend on a social media website.
This woman found out through a news article that Spoor was diagnosed with HIV and contacted Indiana State Police and Parkview Hospital to request lab work. She adamantly denied that Spoor ever revealed he was infected with the HIV virus.
A second woman contacted Indiana State Police in Bremen saying her ex-boyfriend, Spoor, had been arrested on a charge of malicious mischief. She said she met him nearly three years ago via a social networking site. They dated for three months and had unprotected sex at his residence in Fort Wayne and at her home in Wabash, she said. Then she broke up with him when he told her that his ex-wife had moved in with him, according to court documents.
It was the second woman’s ex-husband who told her he found out on the internet Spoor was infected with the HIV virus. She went to Planned Parenthood to check her health.
A third woman also contacted Indiana State Police in Bremen saying that her ex-boyfriend, Spoor, had been arrested on a charge of malicious mischief. She said she met Spoor at the end of 2014 on a dating site and in October 2015 went to Fort Wayne to have consensual unprotected sex. Their relationship ended soon because Spoor was ignoring her phone calls, she said.
Published in The Journal Gazette on June 29, 2017
Man arrested, charged for not informing partner of HIV status
WARSAW — A Silver Lake resident is likely to face additional charges for hiding his HIV status from sex partners.
An affidavit was filed Tuesday in Kosciusko Superior Court indicating that Travis Spoor, 37, allegedly had sex on multiple occasions with a woman that he met on the dating site Match.com.
Police say that Spoor told the woman that his name was Ray Hildeman. The two spoke over the phone for about two weeks before meeting in person. The woman told police that the man she knew as Ray Hildeman then came to her house on March 5, and spent a week there and that they had unprotected sexual intercourse three times.
The woman told police that he left Sunday after she told him that her children were coming home. The victim learned the man’s true identity because he forgot his wallet and she found a license with the name Travis Spoor that included a photo of the man she knew as Ray Hildeman.
The victim then contacted the Kosciusko County sheriff and made a report.
Spoor admitted to police on March 13 that he used an alias on the dating site and that he had had a relationship with the victim and that the two had unprotected sex and that he did not inform her of his HIV status.
Spoor, who lives in southern Kosciusko County, already is facing felony charges in Marshall County for allegedly failing to tell sex partners he was HIV positive. He also is facing additional charges in Kosciusko and Allen counties for similar behavior.
The charges stem from relationships going back to at least 2013. In court documents, prosecutors alleged Spoor knew he was HIV-positive since 2012.
Spoor signed a document on Jan. 4, 2013, saying he would warn potential sex partners of his HIV positive status in accordance with Indiana law, according to the probable cause affidavit. Spoor also signed a post-test counseling form from the Indiana Department of Health that prohibited him from having sexual intercourse if he did not first inform his partners of his HIV positive status.
Published in the South Bend Tribune on March 14, 2017
US: Study presented at IAS 2017 analyses HIV convictions under HIV criminalisation laws by race, gender and sexuality
HIV Disclosure Crime Convictions Differ by Race/Gender, Gay/Straight Status in the US
9th IAS Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017), July 23-26, 2017, Paris
Black women get convicted under US HIV disclosure laws half as often as white women, white men, or black men, according to results of a five-state analysis . Men who have sex with men (MSM) get convicted at a rate about one-seventh that of men who have sex with women (MSW). The overall conviction rate for the five states is 13 per 10,000 HIV diagnoses. Missouri easily leads other analyzed states in conviction rate, with 98 per 10,000 diagnoses.
Thirty-two US states have laws criminalizing failure to disclose HIV status to a sex partner or exposing a partner to HIV without their consent. Previous research showed that black heterosexual men get convicted disproportionately under a Michigan law. To determine whether gender, race, or sexual preference affects conviction rates in five states, Trevor Hoppe of the University of Albany, SUNY, analyzed trends in Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, and Tennessee. Gender analyses were possible only in Michigan, Missouri, and Tennessee.
Consulting state law enforcement and legal records and newspaper reports, Hoppe counted 387 HIV disclosure law convictions in the five states between 1992 and 2015, including 206 convictions in the three states with gender data available. The overall conviction rate for the five states came to 13 per 10,000 HIV diagnoses. That rate was by far highest in Missouri (98 per 10,000 diagnoses), followed by Tennessee (36 per 10,000), Michigan (33 per 10,000), Louisiana (21 per 10,000), and Florida (6 per 10,000).
The analysis showed no substantial conviction differences by gender or race. But when Hoppe considered gender and race simultaneously, he found a much lower conviction rate in black women (11 per 10,000 HIV diagnoses) than in black men (25 per 10,000), white men (24 per 10,000), or white women (22 per 10,000).
A gay/straight analysis found a much lower conviction rate in MSM than in MSW (20 versus 146 per 10,000). This difference held true for white MSM versus white MSW (9 versus 108 per 10,000) and black MSM versus black MSW (8 versus 47 per 10,000).
Hope speculated that the lower conviction rate for black women could mean black men are less likely to report HIV nondisclosure to the police because they do not trust the police or do not think it is a legal matter. In the same way, gay men may not report HIV non-disclosure because they distrust police or want to avoid a legal contest. Alternatively, the low conviction rate in gay men may reflect high HIV prevalence in US gay men and a resulting lack of shock at nondisclosure.
These findings presented at IAS 2017 are part of a larger project that will be published in November 2017 in a book by Trevor Hoppe, Punishing Disease.
1. Hoppe T. Victim impact: analyzing disparities by race, gender, and sexuality under U.S. HIV exposure and disclosure laws. 1992-2015. 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017), July 23-26, 2017, Paris. Abstract MOPEC0719.
For more information see this link.