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US: It’s time Ohio’s laws reflected our new understanding of the science of HIV

Ohio’s HIV laws should be based on science, not hysteria
December 6, 2019

Ohio’s HIV laws should be based on science, not hysteria

Even if you weren’t a fan of the National Basketball Association in 1991, you probably remember the day in November that Earvin “Magic” Johnson, the dazzling point-guard of the Los Angeles Lakers announced he was retiring from the game after testing HIV-positive. How many more years did you give Magic? Three, four, maybe five?

Over the last 28 years, we’ve watched Magic briefly return to the NBA, coach the Lakers, announce NBA games, host a talk show, open movie theaters and coffee shops, buy a stake in the L.A. Dodgers and serve as Lakers president.

It would have been impossible in 1991 to conceive of Magic cycling through all those career choices because we couldn’t have imagined him having the time. But now, it’s fairly common to hear of people who’ve lived for decades after a positive diagnosis.

Their longevity shouldn’t be used to minimize the seriousness of the virus. If left untreated, HIV will cause AIDS, and AIDS will kill. But the advancements in treatment and prevention are reason enough to reconsider some of the decades-old laws that were drafted to punish people who sleep with others without informing them that they’re HIV-positive. Those laws were largely based on the belief that there was nothing on the other side of an HIV diagnosis but sickness and death.

In Ohio, a person who is HIV-positive can be sentenced up to eight years in prison and made to register as a sex offender for engaging in sexual conduct without disclosing their status.

What if that person uses a condom?

It doesn’t matter.

What if the person is faithfully taking pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PReP, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99%

That doesn’t matter, either.

What if long after the fact, the partner tests negative for the virus?

Not even that matters. The offense, according to the law, is not telling. The crime isn’t the transmission. The crime isn’t even the likelihood of transmission. Just the not telling. Even if the person is reasonably trusting the science that says transmitting the virus is virtually impossible.

Greg Cote told Columbus radio station WOSU last month that he has made himself into a walking billboard proclaiming that he’s HIV-positive. As a policy, everybody should be as honest as he is. Even so, Cote hasn’t been intimate with anybody, he said, because if a bitter lover claims they weren’t informed, it can be difficult for people with HIV to prove to the satisfaction of jurors that they were, indeed, honest and forthcoming about their status.

A 2004 episode of The Chappelle Show included a sketch about “The Love Contract,” which was described as a way that people engaged in casual sex could prove in court that their partners consented. As absurd as the idea of a pre-coital contract sounds, advocates for Ohio’s HIV-positive residents say that or something close to that is required for them to prove that they haven’t been dishonest with their partners.

The Ohio Health Modernization Movement advises sexually active HIV-positive people to do one of the following things: save email or text messages that indicate that a potential partner has been informed of the person’s status; take that potential partner to a doctor’s visit or a caseworker’s visit so a third-party can confirm a disclosure was made; discuss one’s status in front of a third-party who can attest that a disclosure was made; video a conversation of a disclosure or, lastly, do what Chappelle did in that comedy sketch and have a potential partner sign a document. This document would acknowledge the partner’s awareness of the positive person’s status.

The best way for a HIV-positive people to protect themselves from criminal prosecution for consensual sex is to not getting tested. After all, Ohio law doesn’t allow people who don’t know that they’re HIV-positive to be charged with not telling their partners that they are. And this, advocates say, provides a regrettable incentive for people to avoid finding out if they’re carrying the virus.

The advocates’ position lines up with the federal government’s. In a 2014 report, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice cited a CDC finding that the stigma associated with an HIV diagnosis discourages many from learning their status. That DOJ report notes that “intentional HIV transmission is atypical and uncommon” and suggests that states rewrite their laws to focus on two types of offenders: HIV-positive rapists whose crimes put their victims at risk of contracting the virus and people who intend to transmit HIV through behavior that carries a “significant risk of transmission.”

Such a focus is warranted. Prosecutors shouldn’t be pursuing those who aren’t trying to infect their partners, especially those who’ve been made to believe that they can’t. The American Medical Association has called for a complete repeal of HIV criminalization laws, but the Ohio Health Modernization Movement favors changing a failure to disclose one’s status from a felony to a misdemeanor.

After retiring in 1991, Magic tried to return to the court in 1992, but many players expressed a fear of playing against him. But in 1996, Magic did return with hardly anybody objecting. Players had a better understanding, then, about how the virus is transmitted. And we have an even better understanding of things in 2019. It’s time our laws reflected that new understanding.

Jarvis DeBerry is a columnist at Cleveland.com and a member of the editorial board. Reach him at jdeberry@cleveland.com or on Twitter at @jarvisdeberry.

Jamaica: Proposed amendment to criminalise willful transmission of HIV is unnecessary and already covered under general criminal law

Stakeholders Resist Proposal To Criminalize Willful Transmission Of HIV
December 5, 2019

Stakeholders Resist Proposal To Criminalize Willful Transmission Of HIV

Policy and Advocacy Manager at the Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, Patrick Lalor says criminalising the willful transmission of HIV will negatively impact public health gains that have been made so far.

He made the argument while speaking on Nationwide this Morning with Patria-Kaye Aarons and Rodje Malcolm.  

A Joint Select Committee of Parliament has recommended that amendments be made to the Offences Against the Person Act to make it a criminal offence to willfully and knowingly transmit sexually transmitted infections including HIV.

The recommendation came from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP.

Assistant DPP Adley Duncan says this particular recommendation arose from a particular extradition matter.

He says it was challenged to mount an argument in relation to that case because the act of knowingly transmitting HIV isn’t an explicit crime in law in Jamaica.

But in responding Mr. Lalor maintained that he believes the current provisions in law can be applied to the transmission of HIV knowingly.

Country Director for UNAIDS in Jamaica, Manoela Manova says criminalising the willful transmission of HIV will not be an effective policy directive in preventing its transmission

She says proving the willful transmission of HIV will be difficult.

 

US: Sex worker arrested in undercover operation and facing charges of HIV exposure in Georgia

Police: Sex worker didn’t disclose she was HIV status
December 5, 2019

Police in Alpharetta are issuing a warning to individuals who pay for sex. 

A sting conducted by a task force made up of three northern agencies ended in the arrest of GX, who is 24. The officers expected the decoy operation at an undisclosed hotel to culminate in that fashion. But once they started interviewing the young lady, police say she told them she had been HIV positive for more than a year. She also stated she sought no medical treatment.

“This is serious,” said Alpharetta Police Sergeant Howard Miller. “Our concern in putting this information out there is public health. 

Miller said any of Pitts’ customers can come forward and not worry about being charged as a “John”. 

US: Man arrested and charged in Oklahoma for alleged HIV non-disclosure and transmission

Man arrested, accused of knowingly spreading HIV to two people
December 5, 2019

Source: Fox 23 News, December 4, 2019

TULSA, Okla. – A man was arrested this week on two different felony charges after investigators say he knowingly transmitted HIV to at least two victims.

Court papers state XX had consensual sex with the victims and didn’t tell them he has HIV.

In one case, the victim reportedly said he explicitly told him he was not infected with the virus. The victim didn’t know he had it until he started feeling ill shortly after their sexual encounter and was tested by the Tulsa County Health Department.

In the second case, the victim reportedly didn’t know he had it until he was approached by others who told him he may want to get checked.

Court papers state X was diagnosed with HIV in 2014, and received counseling regarding his test results, so he was aware he had it.

X was charged in July and was arrested on Tuesday.

There are several free and low-cost resources in Tulsa to help prevent and treat HIV. Experts said the best way to help stop spread of the disease is through regular testing.

Experts said there are options and treatments for people diagnosed with HIV to help manage their symptoms. People need to be responsible and get the proper medical attention.

HOPE provides STD testing, counseling and referrals for people in regard to sexual health. Tulsa CARES helps patients with emergency care, transportation, health services and more. The county and city health departments are also resources for testing and medical attention.

Kenya: Advocates argue that HIV criminalisation law is impeding progress in Kenya’s response to the epidemic

Group criticises sexual offences law in war against HIV
December 2, 2019

Group criticises sexual offences law in war against HIV

In Summary

  • Despite the opposition from the State, persons living with HIV and Aids want the courts to declare section 26 of the Sexual Offences Act unlawful.
  • But the state argues that the challenged provisions are clear, precise, unambiguous, and do not disclose any infringement of their constitutional rights

The government could be shooting itself in the foot in the ongoing efforts to contain the spread of HIV and Aids by allowing the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to arrest and commence criminal trial against those suspected of spreading the virus.

The state has been calling on the public to come out openly and seek testing and treatment.

However, recent events where the DPP wants a 42-year-old woman in Nakuru jailed for breastfeeding and infecting her neighbour’s nine-month-old baby with HIV last year, could undo the gains already made in containing the spread of the virus.

It is feared that such prosecution may discourage others from going public about their status and seeking treatment among other state interventions aimed at curbing the virus.

The law under which the woman was charged, Section 26 of the Sexual Offences Act, is also the subject of litigation at the High Court by HIV positive persons (PLWHA) who want it repealed.

The woman’s lawyer, Ms Jenifer Mugweru, is appealing the orders issued by a magistrate on October 18, requiring her to provide her blood samples to be tested for HIV.

INFORMED CONSENT

The woman who is out on a Sh50,000 bond is said to have committed the offence on September 18, 2018 at Gichobo area in Njoro Sub-County.

The HIV and Aids Prevention and Control Act (Hapca), which has been in force since 2009, provides at Section 14 that, “No person shall undertake an HIV test in respect of another person except: (a) with the informed consent of that other person.”

Informed consent refers to consent given with the full knowledge of the risks involved, probable consequences and the range of alternatives available.

“Informed consent for HIV testing means that the person being tested for HIV agrees to undergo the test on the basis of understanding the testing procedures, the reasons for the testing, and is able to assess the personal implications of having or not having the test performed,” the HIV and Aids Tribunal ruled in one of its decisions.

In their application challenging Section 26 of the Sexual Offences Act, and its subsections, people living with HIV and Aids argue that it could undermine government efforts to eradicate or contain HIV and Aids spread.

They have interpreted section 26 of the Sexual Offences Act to imply that a person living with the disease is a potential criminal, who needs to be prosecuted and jailed, should it be established that he or she is “spreading” HIV/Aids.

POTENTIAL CRIMINAL

Section 26(1) of the Sexual Offences Act provides that “any person who, having actual knowledge that he or she is infected with HIV or any other ‘life threatening’ sexually transmitted disease, intentionally, knowingly and wilfully does anything or permits the doing of anything which he or she knows ….

“ … (a) Will infect another with HIV or any other ‘life threatening’ sexually transmitted disease … Shall be guilty of an offence, whether or not he or she is married to that other person, and shall be liable upon conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than fifteen years but which may be for life.”

The effect of this section and its subsidiary sections is that it perpetuates discrimination, stigma and fear against persons with HIV/Aids.

Living with the disease makes a person a criminal waiting to be arrested, prosecuted and visited with a lengthy jail term.

“It therefore discourages people from testing for HIV, seeking treatment and disclosing their status,” the litigants said in court papers.

According to people living with HIV and Aids, knowledge of one’s HIV status is important because it allows one to seek treatment and greatly reduces if not eliminates the risk of further transmission.

It also makes it possible to employ a range of other transmission prevention strategies and can improve expansion of HIV diagnosis and treatment, therefore a necessary condition for a successful HIV response.

“Section 26 of the Act thereby threatens progress gained and severely constrains further progress in Kenya’s response to the HIV epidemic,” the PLWHA argue.

PRIVACY

The section, according to the group, also intrudes on the privacy of marriage between consenting parties, it creates stigma and discrimination against couples in which one partner has HIV and the other does not (discordant couples).

It criminalises consensual physical intimacy between partners, threatens to separate families by removing a parent or partner from the family to be incarcerated (it criminalises procreation between discordant couples).

The group says the section creates stigma and discrimination against breastfeeding whereas this is the means by which most people in Kenya nourish their infants, and the only practical means by which to do so for many as well as the medically suggested means including people with HIV.

“And in that it threatens to separate children from their parents by removing the parent from the child to be incarcerated for lengthy periods on the basis of their HIV status, whereas it is in the presumptive interest of the child to be raised by both parents,” said PLWHA in court papers.

The group also takes issue with the meaning of the term “life-threatening sexually transmitted disease” or what constitutes it, saying it has not been explained in the Act, and the law is therefore vague in that respect.

VICTIM’S INTENTION

The state in defending the law disagrees with the arguments being advanced by the group, saying the challenged provisions are clear, precise, unambiguous, and do not disclose any infringement of their constitutional rights.

The group wants the court to declare Section 26 of the Sexual Offences Act unlawful. The case is still pending in the high court.

Further, that it is important to appreciate why section 26 of the Sexual Offences Act was enacted.

“While examining whether a particular law is unconstitutional, the court must have regard not only to its purpose but also its effect. The purpose of section 26 of the Sexual Offences Act was to address the intentional spread of HIV and Aids,” state counsel Anne Wanjiku Mwangi in court papers.

Despite the opposition from the State, persons living with HIV and Aids want the courts to declare section 26 of the Sexual Offences Act unlawful.

Tajikistan: Criminal proceedings could be instigated against 2 women in the future if sexual partners develop HIV

Two women may have infected dozens of men in Khatlon with HIV, says Khatlon governor
November 30, 2019

Source: Asia Plus, November 30, 2019

Two women may have infected dozens of men in Khatlon with HIV, says Khatlon governor

Khatlon governor Qurbon Hakimzoda remarked this at the congress of women leaders in Bokhtar on November 28.

“Two women may have infected dozens of men with HIV in the cities of Bokhtar and Nurek within a short period of time,” the governor said.  

Hakimzoda noted that that case had been discussed at his meeting with administrators of the city of Nurek and he had ordered them to take measures to prevent such cases in the future.   

The head of the Khatlon AIDS Center, Ilyosiddin Saidov, told Asia-Plus that they had tested more than 20 men who had had sexual intercourse with those women.  “The tests were negative.  However, we will test them once again in six months, because they may be infected but tests did not detect that,” Saidov said.  

If those men were really infected, criminal proceedings will be instituted against those women, Saidov added.   

Meanwhile, an antigen/antibody test performed by a laboratory on blood from a vein can usually detect HIV infection 18 to 45 days after an exposure.  Antigen/ antibody tests done with blood from a finger prick can take longer to detect HIV (18 to 90 days after an exposure).

According to Saidov, 338 new HIV-infection cases hav been officially registered in the province over the first ten months of this year, bringing a total number of people living with HIV in the area to 3,654.   

Criminal transmission of HIV is the intentional or reckless infection of a person with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).  This is often conflated, in laws and in discussion, with criminal exposure to HIV, which does not require the transmission of the virus and often, as in the cases of spitting and biting, does not include a realistic means of transmission.  Some countries or jurisdictions, including some areas of the U.S., have enacted laws expressly to criminalize HIV transmission or exposure, charging those accused with criminal transmission of HIV.  Others, including the United Kingdom, charge the accused under existing laws with such crimes as murder, fraud (Canada), manslaughter, attempted murder, or assault.

[Update]Russia: Prosecutor approves charges against senior nurse in case of negligence leading to HIV transmissions in Budennovsk hospital

Court investigate to determinate responsibility for the infection of five patients with HIV in hospital in Budennovsk
November 29, 2019

Source IZ.ru,  November 28, 2019 Google translation, scroll down for article in Russian

The case of HIV infection of patients in the hospital of Budennovsk is brought to court

The prosecutor’s office approved the indictment in the case of a senior nurse at a hospital in the city of Budennovsk, where five patients became infected with HIV. This was reported on the website of the Prosecutor General of Russia on Thursday, November 28.

“The Budyonnovsk interdistrict prosecutor’s office of the Stavropol Territory approved the indictment in a criminal case against a local resident,” the statement said. It is noted that the health worker is accused of negligence under Part 1 of Art. 293 of the Criminal Code.

The case was sent to the Budyonnovsk city court of the Stavropol Territory for consideration on the merits. The Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee of Russia in the Stavropol Territory completed the investigation of this case on November 15.

According to the investigation, in 2018 the senior nurse of the infectious diseases department of the GBUZ SK “Regional Center for SVMP No. 1” did not control the nursing staff for peripheral venous catheters. One of the products was from an HIV-infected patient. As a result, five patients of the department, including three children born in 2017 and 2016, became infected with the human immunodeficiency virus.

It is worth noting that on November 20, the Ministry of Health of the Stavropol Territory responded to media accusations of a lack of disposable syringes and other supplies in the Budennovsk hospital, where patients became infected with HIV. According to the agency, in 2018, the medical institution purchased disposable syringes, systems for intravenous administration, peripheral venous catheters and other consumables for an amount exceeding 38.827 million rubles. The work of the department and the documentation was checked by an interdepartmental commission, which did not find violations and shortages.

———–

Дело о заражении ВИЧ пациентов в больнице Буденновска передано в суд

Прокуратура утвердила обвинительное заключение по делу в отношении старшей медсестры больницы города Буденновска, где пять пациентов заразились ВИЧ. Об этом сообщается на сайте Генпрокуратуры России в четверг, 28 ноября.

«Буденновская межрайонная прокуратура Ставропольского края утвердила обвинительное заключение по уголовному делу в отношении местной жительницы», — говорится в сообщении. Отмечается, что медработник обвиняется в халатности по ч.1 ст. 293 УК РФ.

Дело направлено в Буденновский городской суд Ставропольского края для рассмотрения по существу. Следственное управление СК России по Ставропольскому краю завершило расследование этого дела 15 ноября.

По данным следствия, в 2018 году старшая медсестра инфекционного отделения ГБУЗ СК «Краевой центр СВМП №1» не проконтролировала уход сотрудниками среднего медперсонала за периферическими венозными катетерами. Одно из изделий было от ВИЧ-инфицированного пациента. В итоге пять пациентов отделения, в числе которых трое детей 2017 года и 2016 годов рождения, заразились вирусом иммунодефицита человека.

Стоит отметить, что 20 ноября министерство здравоохранения Ставропольского края ответило на обвинения СМИ в нехватке одноразовых шприцов и других расходных материалов в больнице Буденновска, где пациенты заразились ВИЧ. По данным ведомства, в 2018 году медучреждение закупило одноразовые шприцы, системы для внутривенного введения, периферические венозные катетеры и прочие расходники на сумму, превышающую 38,827 млн рублей. Работу отделения и документацию проверила межведомственная комиссия, которая не нашла нарушений и недостачи.


Source: ForPost – sevastopol.SU, November 16, 2019 – Google translation, scroll down for Russian article

Nurse faces trial in case of infection of five HIV patients

According to the investigation, the woman did not follow the necessary manipulations with catheters, one of which was used by a patient with HIV.

The senior nurse of the infectious diseases department of the hospital in the city of Budennovsk in the Stavropol Territory will appear in court after five patients have been infected with HIV. On Friday, reporters were informed about this in the Investigative Department of the RF IC in the region.

“The investigation of the criminal case against the head nurse of the infectious department accused of committing a crime under Part 1 of Article 293 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“ Negligence ”) has been completed. The criminal case was sent to the prosecutor for approval of the indictment and subsequent transfer to court for examination on the merits “, the message said.

According to the investigation, in 2018 an HIV-infected person was admitted to the infectious ward. The defendant did not control the necessary manipulations with catheters, one of which was used by this patient. As a result, three children born in 2017 and 2016, as well as two adults who were treated at the hospital during the same period, became infected with HIV.

Earlier, the press service of the regional Ministry of Health of TASS reported that a ministerial check revealed violations in the work of the hospital where the infection occurred. A number of employees received administrative and disciplinary sanctions. All victims are registered at the regional AIDS Center and receive the necessary antiretroviral therapy. 

Медсестра предстанет перед судом по делу о заражении пяти пациентов ВИЧ

По данным следствия, женщина не проконтролировала выполнение необходимых манипуляций с катетерами, один из которых использовал пациент с ВИЧ.

Старшая медицинская сестра инфекционного отделения больницы города Буденновска в Ставропольском крае предстанет перед судом после заражения пяти пациентов ВИЧ-инфекцией. Об этом в пятницу журналистам сообщили в следственном управлении СК РФ по региону.

“Завершено расследование уголовного дела в отношении старшей медицинской сестры инфекционного отделения, обвиняемой в совершении преступления, предусмотренного ч. 1 ст. 293 УК РФ (“Халатность”). Уголовное дело направлено прокурору для утверждения обвинительного заключения и последующей передачи в суд для рассмотрения по существу”, – говорится в сообщении.

По данным следствия, в 2018 году в инфекционное отделение поступил ВИЧ-инфицированный человек. Обвиняемая не проконтролировала выполнение необходимых манипуляций с катетерами, один из которых использовался этим пациентом. В результате ВИЧ-инфекцией заразились трое детей 2017 и 2016 годов рождения, а также двое взрослых, которые в этот же период находились на лечении в больнице.

Ранее в пресс-службе краевого Минздрава ТАСС сообщили, что министерская проверка выявила нарушения в работе больницы, где произошло заражение. Ряд сотрудников понесли административные и дисциплинарные взыскания. Все пострадавшие взяты на диспансерный учет в краевой Центр СПИД и получают необходимую антиретровирусную терапию. 


 Source: Kommersant, October 2, 2019 – Google translation, scroll down for Rusian article

Court investigate to determinate responsibility for the infection of five patients with HIV in hospital in Budennovsk

The Ministry of Health of the Stavropol Territory, together with Rospotrebnadzor and the regional AIDS center, is conducting an epidemiological investigation to determinate the cause of HIV infection in five patients of the No. 1 Regional center for specialized types of care of Budennovsk in 2018. This was reported by the press service of the regional Ministry of Health. The reason was the publication in the media, indicating as a cause of infection a medical error and negligence of medical staff.

Employees of the ministry checked the medical institution and revealed cases of non-compliance with sanitary requirements by the employees of the infectious diseases department during medical procedures. Responsible officials were held administratively and disciplined. The court will determine those responsible for the infection of hospital patients with HIV infection.

As Newstracker reported, five people became infected with HIV, including three children. A criminal case was opened on this fact under the article “Negligence”. The suspect in the case is the senior nurse of the medical institution, who, according to the investigation, did not instruct her subordinates and did not control their work. According to the publication, this has become one of the causes of infection.


Виновных в заражении пятерых пациентов больницы в Буденновске ВИЧ определит суд

Министерство здравоохранения Ставропольского края совместно с Роспотребнадзором и краевым центром СПИД проводит эпидемиологическое расследование по установлению причины заражения ВИЧ-инфекцией пятерых пациентов краевого центра специализированных видов помощи № 1 Буденновска в 2018 году. Об этом сообщает пресс-служба краевого Минздрава. Поводом послужили публикации в СМИ, указывающие в качестве причины заражения врачебную ошибку и халатность медперсонала.

Сотрудники министерства проверили медучреждение и выявили случаи несоблюдения санитарных требований сотрудниками инфекционного отделения при выполнении медицинских манипуляций. Ответственные должностные лица были привлечены к административной и дисциплинарной ответственности. Виновных в заражении пациентов больницы ВИЧ-инфекцией определит суд.

Как сообщал Newstracker, ВИЧ заразились пять человек , в том числе трое детей. По данному факту по статье «Халатность» завели уголовное дело. Подозреваемой по делу проходит старшая медсестра медучреждения, которая, по версии следствия, не проводила инструктаж с подчиненными и не проконтролировала их работу. По информации издания, это стало одной из причин заражения.

 

The response to HIV is hampered by repressive legislation and policies

Power to the people: repressive laws hamper grassroots response to HIV, report warns
November 27, 2019

Power to the people: repressive laws hamper grassroots response to HIV, report warns

Government clampdowns on marginalised groups are hampering the response to the HIV/Aids epidemic, a new report has warned.

The United Nations HIV agency, UNAIDS, has highlighted the vital role played by community groups in fighting Aids but warns that repressive laws, such as bans on gay sex and drug prohibition, are threatening their existence and efforts to control the disease. 

In an interview with the Telegraph to launch the report Winnie Byanyima, the new executive director of UNAIDS, said that since the beginning of the Aids epidemic community groups have played a crucial role in the fight against the disease. 

“Community organisations have been delivering services on the ground, counselling people, taking them for testing and supporting them through treatment. But more importantly they have been challenging governments and speaking up and demanding the right to health,” she said. 

The report, published in advance of World Aids Day on December 1, warns that HIV is becoming concentrated in girls and young women and what are known as “key populations” – gay men, sex workers, drug users, transgender people and prisoners. 

In 2018, more than half of all new infections were among these groups but these are also the very people who face the most stigma and discrimination, the report says. 

The report highlights how in all 21 countries in eastern and Southern Africa – which has one of the highest rates of HIV in the world – sex between same sex partners is criminalised and is punishable by the death penalty in more than half. 

And it is a criminal offence to to fail to disclose HIV diagnosis to employers or others in around half of east and south African countries. 

Other repressive policies include mandatory HIV testing for marriage, work or residence permits for certain groups. 

The report warns: “Where people fear discovery and arrest – and where violence, discrimination, aggressive law enforcement and harassment are enabled by national and local legislation – the people most in need of services cannot access them.” 

The report warns that civil society organisations in many countries face legal constraints, funding restrictions and regulatory hurdles and operate in hostile, authoritarian environments.

A study published in the Lancet last month showed that anti-gay laws were linked to low knowledge of HIV status among gay men.

The report highlights the success of gay rights groups in Botswana where, after four years of legal challenges, one group, the Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana, won legal recognition. Earlier this year it helped to get the country’s high court to decriminalise same sex relations.

 

Ms Byanyima said that while a country such as Uganda was seeing the number of new infections decrease – from 92,000 in 2010 to 53,000 in 2018 – it would not end Aids if same sex relations continue to be punishable by life imprisonment and gay people live in fear. 

“In a country like Uganda most of the infections are transmitted through heterosexual sex and you see that women and girls are among the most infected. If you focus on women and girls you will drive down infections pretty fast but Uganda will not end the epidemic unless it also delivers on the human rights of gay people,” she said.

She added that in Russia, HIV rates were increasing among drug users.

“It’s important to address the epidemic you have in your own country,” she said. 

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US: Growing number of Ohio public health experts and advocates call for reform of HIV criminalisation law

Experts: Ohio law on HIV status disclosure hurts public health
November 26, 2019

Experts: Ohio law on HIV status disclosure hurts public health

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A growing number of Ohio public health experts and advocates are now working to stop what they call the criminalization of HIV.

Daphne Kackloudis, Chief Public Policy Officer at Equitas Health, told News 5 Ohio’s current law charging someone who fails to disclose their HIV status with a felony in all cases is hurting public health.

Kackloudis said the threat of up to eight years in prison is causing too many people to avoid getting tested, because according the current law if someone doesn’t get tested, and isn’t aware of their status they can’t be prosecuted.

“It is a disincentive for someone to get tested, and that’s not good for an individuals health and the public health,” Kackloudis said.

“We want them to get on antiretroviral therapy to get as healthy as possible, and be virally suppressed so they can not transmit HIV.”

Kackloudis believes the potential penalty should be moved back to a misdemeanor in cases where those charged are on HIV medication and are a far less infection risk.

She said the current law allows someone to file charges against an HIV-positive partner, even if they didn’t get the virus from that partner.

Kackloudis is a member of the Ohio Health Modernization Movement , which is also making an effort to change Ohio law.

She also made it clear she fully understands why the law was created, and said the proposed change in the law would still allow for full prosecution of those who willingly give others HIV.

Graig Cote of Columbus, who has been HIV positive for 33 years, told News 5 changes in the law are needed because it’s too difficult to prove if someone made proper disclosure of their status or not, unless there was a witness or if it was in writing or recorded.

“If we don’t change the laws, people don’t get tested, if they don’t get tested they don’t know if they’re HIV positive,” Cote said.

“We’re not asking for a free ride, we’re just asking that the laws catch up with the science.”

Cote said he hopes the proposed change in Ohio law is ready to present at the statehouse in the first quarter of 2020, and again made it clear the effort would not keep those who willingly spread HIV from facing full prosecution.

“People who want to infect somebody need to be stopped, there’s no dispute about that,” Cote said.

US: 40-year-old Tennessee man charged with alleged HIV exposure

Nashville man indicted on HIV exposure charge
November 26, 2019

Source: Scoop Nashville, November 25, 2019

Nashville man indicted on HIV exposure charge 

40-year-old D.X. has been indicted by the Davidson County Grand Jury on criminal exposure of HIV to another person. His bond was set at $25,000.

A Davidson County Grand Jury has indicted D.X. with criminal exposure of HIV to another person. The indictment, which was unsealed on November 15th, details the exposure that occurred between November of 2014 and August of 2016. It alleges X knew he was infected with HIV and knowingly engaged in intimate contact with another person without disclosing the information to his partner.

X is scheduled to be arraigned on December 11th, in front of Judge Steve Dozier.

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