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Russia: 39-year-old woman sentenced to one year imprisonment for alleged HIV exposure and non-disclosure

В КУЗБАССЕ ЖЕНЩИНА С ВИЧ ПОСТАВИЛА ПОД УГРОЗУ СВОЕГО ПАРТНЁРА И ПОПАЛА ПОД СУД
March 13, 2019

Published in Kemerovo newspaper, A42.ru, on March 12, 2019 – Google translation. For article in Russian, please scroll down

IN KUZBASS, A WOMAN WITH HIV HAS PUT HER PARTNER AT RISK AND IS BROUGHT TO JUSTICE

In Yaya, a woman did not tell her sex partner about HIV, which put his health at risk. A 39-year-old townswoman was convicted for this.

It was established that she was registered in the office of an infectious diseases doctor. The woman was warned about the presence of HIV infection, as well as criminal liability for knowingly exposing another person to the infection.

“  Understanding that she could infect a partner, the woman indifferently reacted to this and did not warn him about the presence of her disease and had sexual intercourse with him repeatedly from February 2017 to July 2018 ” the regional prosecutor’s office reported.

The court found her guilty and sentenced her to imprisonment for one year.


В КУЗБАССЕ ЖЕНЩИНА С ВИЧ ПОСТАВИЛА ПОД УГРОЗУ СВОЕГО ПАРТНЁРА И ПОПАЛА ПОД СУД

В Яе женщина не сообщила своему сексуальному партнёру о ВИЧ, чем поставила под угрозу его здоровье. 39-летнюю горожанку за это осудили.

Установлено, что она состояла на учёте в кабинете врача-инфекциониста. Женщину предупредили о наличии ВИЧ-инфекции, а также уголовной ответственности за заведомое поставление другого лица в опасность заражения.

 Понимая, что может заразить партнера, женщина безразлично отнеслась к этому и не предупредила его о наличии у нее заболевания, неоднократно с февраля 2017 по июль 2018 года вступала с ним в половую связь, — сообщили в областной прокуратуре.

Суд признал её виновной и назначил наказание в виде ограничения свободы сроком на год.

Mexico: Local congressman calls for the repeal of legislation criminalising people with HIV in Mexico City Federal District

Pide diputado local pide derogar criminalización de enfermos de VIH
March 13, 2019

Published in 20 minutos on March 12, 2019 (Google translation, for article in Spanish, please scroll down)

Local deputy calls for repeal of criminalization of HIV patients

Local Congressman Temístocles Villanueva Ramos considered that the authorities of Mexico City are obliged to provide adequate information, education and support, to guarantee access to means of prevention and treatment, as well as to eradicate the criminalization of those suffering from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. 

Presenting an initiative that reforms Article 76 and repeals Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Federal District, the legislator for Morena indicated that criminalizing diseases such as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) hinders the duty of the authorities to guarantee public health while respecting human rights.

“The criminalization of HIV generates more harm than benefits in public health and human rights, so this initiative aims to repeal the article and reform the other to eliminate sentencing and the type of transmission risks” said the legislator.

He explained that currently Article 159 of the Criminal Code treats sexually transmitted infections differently from any other diseases since it specifically penalizes the health condition of the active subject, which causes a discriminatory distinction between people who live with a disease acquired by sexual infection and those who have some other disease acquired by other means,

“The penalty for exposure to infection is based on the risk of harm, not on the harm itself, which overstates the responsibilities of people with HIV, limiting their adequate access to justice,” he lamented.

Villanueva Ramos said that in Mexico, as well as in other countries around the world, people with HIV are subject to criminal law when they expose other people to the virus. However, according to UNAIDS, there is no evidence that these measures generate justice or prevent the transmission of the virus. 

 

“If penalties for people with HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are eradicated, discrimination is reduced and cultural barriers to timely detection and prevention are eliminated,” he said. 

 

Villanueva Ramos warned that the main problem with the classification of “exposure to infection”, both in the Federal Criminal Code and in local codes, is the ambiguity of the definition of incriminating behaviours, so that the jurisdictional authority is the one who decides in most cases which diseases are considered serious or which behaviours are punishable.

 

This type of measures that end up violating the human rights of people with HIV without contributing to the eradication of the epidemic can also be observed in other countries,” he said.


Pide diputado local pide derogar criminalización de enfermos de VIH

El diputado local Temístocles Villanueva Ramos consideró que las autoridades de la Ciudad de México están obligadas a suministrar información, educación y apoyo adecuados, así como garantizar el acceso a los medios de prevención y tratamientos, así como erradicar la criminalización de quienes padecen VIH y otras infecciones de transmisión sexual.

Al presentar una iniciativa que reforma el Artículo 76 y se deroga el Artículo 159 del Código Penal del Distrito Federal, el legislador por Morena indicó que criminalizar las enfermedades como el Virus de la Inmunodeficiencia Humana (VIH) obstaculiza el deber de las autoridades para garantizar la salud pública respetando los derechos humanos.

“La criminalización del VIH genera más daños que beneficios en la salud pública y los derechos humanos, por lo que la presente iniciativa tiene como objeto derogar el artículo y reformar el que le hace referencia para eliminar la pena y el tipo de Peligro de Contagio”, dijo el legislador capitalino.

Explicó que actualmente el Artículo 159 del Código Penal da un trato distinto a las infecciones de transmisión sexual respecto a cualquier otra enfermedad, ya que se penaliza específicamente la condición de salud del sujeto activo, lo que provoca una distinción discriminatoria entre las personas que viven con una enfermedad adquirida por contagio sexual y quienes tienen alguna otra enfermedad adquirida por otros medios.

“La pena por Peligro de Contagio se basa en el riesgo de daño, no en el daño mismo, lo cual sobredimensiona las responsabilidades de las personas con VIH, limitando su acceso adecuado a la justicia”, lamentó.

Villanueva Ramos manifestó que en México, así como en otros países del mundo, a las personas con VIH se les aplica el derecho penal cuando exponen a otras personas, no obstante, de acuerdo con Onusida, no hay datos que comprueben que estas medidas generen justicia o que se prevenga la transmisión del virus.

“Si se erradican las penalizaciones a las personas con VIH e infecciones de transmisión sexual (ITS) se disminuye la discriminación y se eliminan las barreras culturales para la detección oportuna y la prevención”, aseguró.

Villanueva Ramos alertó que el principal problema de la tipificación de “Peligro de Contagio”, tanto en el Código Penal Federal como en los códigos locales es la ambigüedad de la definición de las conductas incriminatorias, por lo que la autoridad jurisdiccional es quien decide en la mayoría de las ocasiones qué enfermedades se consideran graves o qué conductas son las punibles.

“Este tipo de medidas que terminan violentando los derechos humanos de las personas con VIH sin aportar a la erradicación de la epidemia también se pueden observar en otros países”, refirió.

US: Man is facing third-degree felony in Florida for alleged HIV non-disclosure

Man accused of not telling partner he has HIV
March 11, 2019

Source: News4Jax – Published on March 8, 2019

Man accused of not telling partner he has HIV

SX, 30, released on bond

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville man who tested positive for HIV was arrested for not telling his partner that he had the disease, according to a report from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

Records show SX, 30, was charged with sexual intercourse without disclosure of HIV. According to the Sheriff’s Office, X and the victim became sexually active in September 2018.

The victim discovered on Dec. 26, 2018, that he or she contracted a sexually transmitted disease and then confronted X, police said. X denied knowing he had the disease, and the victim convinced X to get tested.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, when X received the test results, he accidentally left them at the victim’s home. The victim read the results and discovered X was HIV positive.

X was arrested Wednesday. He was released Friday on $10,000 bond.

[update]US: Bill aiming to modernise HIV legislation in Florida progresses to the next stage

HIV Modernization Bill Moves Forward In Florida House
March 8, 2019

Source: South Florida Gay News, published on March 7, 2019

HIV Modernization Bill Moves Forward In Florida House

An HIV modernization bill, the HIV Prevention Justice Act (HB 79), cleared its first hurdle passing 10-3 in the Florida House’s Criminal Justice Subcommittee.  

“We’re really excited by the bipartisan momentum that we’ve seen for this HIV modernization legislation,” said Jon Harris Maurer, Equality Florida’s Public Policy Director. “This is long overdue and it’s exciting to see this being addressed as a criminal justice reform issue and a public health issue.” 

Five Republicans and five Democrats voted for the bill.

The current law does not take into account whether a person actually transmitted HIV. Nor does it matter if a condom was used, or if the person with HIV is on treatment and undetectable. 

This new bill would revise the existing law such as defining “Substantial risk of transmission” as “a reasonable probability of disease transmission as proven by competent medical or epidemiological evidence.” The bill would also update outdated language such as changing “sexual intercourse” to “sexual conduct.”   

Other changes include allowing a person who has HIV to donate blood, plasma, organs, skin, or other human tissue as long as a medical professional deems it appropriate. Currently, there are no exceptions so if someone did make such a donation they would be committing a third-degree felony. HB 79 would downgrade the penalty to a first-degree misdemeanor. 

“This bill would help modernize Florida’s HIV laws that were written in the mid-80s at the height of the HIV epidemic and haven’t been updated to align with current science on treatment and prevention for HIV,” Maurer said. “I think most strikingly is that the law currently doesn’t account for whether in fact there is any transmission of HIV. So under the current law, a person could be incarcerated for up to 30 years with a third-degree felony, even though there is no transmission of HIV, and scientifically there is no risk of transmission.”

The bill must also pass through the Appropriations Committee and Judiciary Committee. 

Senator Jason Pizzo (D – Miami) has filed similar legislation (SB 846) in the Florida Senate. 

 


 

Nicholas Duran bill aims to modernize HIV law

Equality Florida applauds legislation catching law up to modern science.

Count it a leftover of the AIDS scare in the 1980s: Florida law treats those who knowingly transmit HIV different than any other sexually transmitted disease.

But a bill advancing through the Florida House could de-stigmatize HIV without decriminalizing irresponsible transmission entirely.

“There’s a longstanding stigma with respect to this based on a years-ago understanding as opposed to current health and medical science on the disease,” state Rep. Nicholas Duran said.

He credits it to law written in a time when people worried spitting or sharing a toilet seat with an HIV-positive individual.

This year, the Miami Democrat filed the HIV Prevention Justice Act (HB 79) in hopes of reforming the law. The bill already has favorably passed through the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee

If it becomes law, the legislation will reclassify a failure to notify a sexual partner of HIV-positive status as a misdemeanor, instead of a felony.

“This legislation will save lives and take care of the whole community,” said Alejandro Acosta, coordinator for Equality Florida’s HIV Advocacy Project. “It will help decrease HIV stigma, encourage people to get tested, and get into treatment.”

Acosta, who is HIV-positive, said Florida “has a responsibility to match our law with current science.”

That means acknowledging HIV, far from the death sentence it was in the 1980s, can be treated as a chronic condition more on par with asthma or diabetes.

While there are 115,000 people living with HIV in Florida, there were less than 900 deaths from HIV-related causes in the state in 2016. 

But the spread of the virus remains a concern, particularly in Florida. The state saw 4,957 documented new transmissions in 2016, according to Equality Florida.

But the impact of the disease remains demographically uneven. Only 22 percent of new transmissions in Florida were for women. Meanwhile, 42 percent were for black individuals and 32 percent were Latino.

And date from the Centers for Disease Control shows the condition still impacts the LGBTQ more than the public as a whole. Gay and bisexual men make up 55 percent of Americans living with HIV.

At current rates, a quarter of all gay and bisexual Latino men will get HIV at some point in their life. Half of gay and bisexual black men will contract the virus.

All this may indicate an importance in being open with sexual partners about having the virus, and Duran doesn’t want failure to disclose information completely decriminalized.

But the severe legal consequence for failing to share information has led to a high number of individuals refusing to get tested for HIV. CDC data suggests 20,000 Floridians have contracted HIV but remain unaware of their status.

In an interview with HIV Plus Magazine in 2017, Acosta declined to say how long he’d had HIV, noting the current laws in Florida open individuals up to legal risk for years.

HIV-positive people can face up to 30 years in prison for failure to disclose their status with a consensual partner, and that risk comes whether the virus gets transmitted or not.

Further, current medical treatments can make HIV medically undetectable, and in turn can make the virus virtually non-transmittable.

It raises the question what obligation should exist for an individual employment safe sex practices has to a partner when there’s virtually no risk of catching HIV from an encounter.

Duran’s bill also addresses some specific issues, like acknowledging the low risk of ever transmitting HIV through oral sex.

States like California have already reduced the penalties for HIV-positive individuals withholding their status.

Efforts to change the law failed in Florida in the past. But Duran hopes a conversation based on current science can catch the law up with modern knowledge.

He notes Hepatitis C poses a greater risk and threat to public health today than HIV. Treating HIV patients as criminals at this point does more harm than good.

“We are going to create smart policy with HIV and STDs,” he said.

Published in FLAPOL on Feb 25, 2019

[Update]Russia: Woman living with HIV sentenced to three years probation in South West Siberia for alleged HIV transmission

Новокузнечанку осудили за инфицирование сожителя ВИЧ
March 5, 2019

Novokuznechanka convicted for infecting a partner with HIV

Google translation of Russian article published in VSE42.ru on March 5, 2019. For article in Russian, please scroll down

A resident of Kuzbass went on trial after an ex-boyfriend accused her of being infected with an incurable disease.

In Novokuznetsk, a 36-year-old resident of Zavodskoy district was convicted, because her former lover was incurably ill. As previously reported, the couple lived together for about a year, but soon after breaking up, the 35-year-old man felt unwell. It turned out that he was infected with HIV.

The man immediately guessed that his former passion had infected him, and the girl confirmed his guess.

– She admitted to him that she was infected with this virus since 2010 and therefore is registered in a specialized medical institution. The suspect became a figurant of the criminal case, – told the regional State Ministry of Internal Affairs.

On the eve of the trial, at which the defendant pleaded not guilty. Nevertheless, the woman was sentenced to three years of probation, the prosecutor’s office of the Zavodskoy district of the city reported.

Новокузнечанку осудили за инфицирование сожителя ВИЧ

Жительница Кузбасса попала под суд после того, как экс-сожитель обвинил ее в заражении неизлечимой болезнью.

В Новокузнецке осудили 36-летнюю жительницу Заводского района, из-за которой неизлечимо заболел ее бывший возлюбленный. Как сообщалось ранее, пара около года проживала вместе, но вскоре после расставания 35-летний мужчина почувствовал недомогание. Выяснилось, что его инфицировали ВИЧ.

Мужчина сразу догадался, что его заразила бывшая пассия, и девушка подтвердила его догадку.

– Та призналась ему, что заражена этим вирусом с 2010 года и в связи с этим стоит на учете в специализированном медучреждении. Подозреваемая стала фигуранткой уголовного дела, – рассказали в региональном ГУ МВД.

Накануне состоялось судебное заседание, на котором подсудимая вину не признала. Тем не менее женщину приговорили к трем годам условного срока, сообщили в прокуратуре Заводского района города.



 

Resident of Novokuznetsk who infected her HIV partner is to go on trial.

Google translation of Russian article published in MKRU on January 24, 2019. For original article in Russian, scroll down.

In the southern capital of Kuzbass, a local resident demanded that his former sweetheart be brought to justice. The woman kept silent about the presence of an incurable virus.

The relationship between the 35-year-old Novokuznechanin and his 36-year-old lover lasted for about a year, but they broke up. In the fall of 2018, the man began to feel unwell and turned to doctors who diagnosed him with the human immunodeficiency virus. The man guessed who could have infected him with an incurable disease, after which his former mistress also admitted that she was infected since 2010 and was registered in a specialized institution, reported vse42.ru .

Concerning the woman, a criminal case was opened, and she now she faces up to 5 years in prison. Soon she will stand trial.


Жительница Новокузнецка заразила сожителя ВИЧ и пошла под суд

В южной столице Кузбасса местный житель потребовал привлечь к ответственности свою бывшую возлюбленную. Женщина умолчала о наличии у себя неизлечимого вируса.

Отношения 35-летнего новокузнечанина и его 36-летней возлюблееой длились около года, однако они расстались. Осенью 2018 года мужчина начал плохо себя чувствовать и обратился к медикам, которые диагностировали у него вирус иммунодефицита человека. Кузбассовец догадался, кто мог заразить его неизлечимым недугом, после чего его бывшая сожительница также призналась, что заражена ещё с 2010 года и стоит на учёте в специализированном учреждении, передаёт vse42.ru.

В отношении женщины возбудили уголовное дело, теперь ей грозит до 5 лет тюрьмы. Вскоре она предстанет перед судом.

Belarus: Experience of serodiscordant couple in Belarus demonstrates how punitive legislation can harm HIV prevention efforts

A prison awaits us: what are discordant couples in Belarus afraid of?
March 1, 2019

Published in echo.msk.ru on March 1, 2019 – Google translation, for from Russian article please scroll down. 

A prison awaits us: what are discordant couples in Belarus afraid of?

Ilya and Eugene – a gay couple from Belarus. They have been together for several years and call themselves an “interesting couple,” because they live in a discordant relationship. Recently, during sex, they broke a condom. They decided to start post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). It would seem that everything was simple: within 72 hours after the risk of infection, you need to start taking pills. Moreover, the steps are known: go to the doctor, explain the situation, get the pills, drink a month’s course – and you can forget about the problem. But due to the peculiarities of local legislation, it is much more difficult to get help than it seems at first glance. AIDS.CENTER figured out what Belarusian discordant couples face and what are the ways out of the current situation in the republic.

“As soon as our condom broke, we consulted with friends and went to Minsk [to the infectious diseases hospital] on Kropotkin Street for a PCP,” recalls Ilya. The doctor listened to him and with a “very dissatisfied face” asked to disclose the name of the partner. Motivated by the fact that a young person must be registered, and in such cases, the medical officer “must report to the law enforcement authorities.”

The man asked if such a law had not been repealed, but they explained to him that it remains in force and that the partner would incur criminal liability. Of course, the man refused to tell him about Evgeny, but the doctor insisted: “How do I know? Maybe you are slandering someone? Suddenly you will now go to sell the medicines that I will give you? ” The pill was not given.

Indeed, in the Criminal Code of Belarus there is Art. 157 (Human immunodeficiency virus infection), according to which, if a person deliberately put another in danger of becoming infected with HIV, he can receive up to a prison term. It is noteworthy that the article provided for criminal liability, even if the injured party had no complaints against the defendant. And infectious disease doctors can initiate proceedings. Moreover, Belarus together with Russia are leaders  in the criminal prosecution of people with HIV. For example, in 2017, 130 criminal cases were initiated under Art. 157 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Belarus.

However, in the near future, legislation in the Republic may be relaxed, for example, on December 19, 2018, an amendment was made to decriminalize transmission of the disease. According to this, people with a diagnosis will no longer be prosecuted “for putting the threat of HIV transmission and HIV infection” on their partners if they have notified them in advance about their diagnosis. Now the bill has been submitted to the Council of the Republic and the president for approval.

“There are still a dozen of prohibitions  for people with HIV-positive status in the legislation of Belarus ,” says Irina Statkevich, chairman of the local HIV-service organization “Positive Movement”. – In 2018, they made positive changes to the standard “Children living with HIV are prohibited from playing sports.” It is noteworthy that the children themselves living with HIV initiated the changes in the norm, namely, they went to the meeting at the Ministry of Health. ”

In addition, before people with HIV were forbidden to adopt children, now this article has been revised, but still there are some nuances in the application.

Who is responsible for health?

Ilya is convinced that he must bear responsibility for his own health. Once he himself worked as an HIV counselor and conducted rapid testing, so he knew that there was very little time for PEP after unprotected intercourse, only three days.

“In my opinion, the doctor was very unprofessional,” he complains. “The reason for concern was that at that time my young man and I didn’t know exactly his viral load.”

“In Belarus, as in many other countries, there is no document that would clearly define the indications for postexposure prophylaxis, and this is due to objective difficulties,” says infectious disease doctor Nikolai Golobrudko.

According to him, the PCP is provided in cases of occupational risks, for example, if a nurse injected with a syringe, which took blood from an HIV-positive patient. Or in some domestic situations (for example, the child found a syringe in the sandbox and injected with them) or at certain sexual contacts (for example, after rape).

Statkevich agrees with the lack of regulations for issuing such tablets. “Therefore, the requirement to name your partner in this regard is unlikely to exist,” she said, assuming that the doctor could ask the partner’s data for risk assessment. “The doctor could look at the viral load information in the partner’s registration card and thus understand how much the situation is really emergency.”

Ultimately, Ilya received postexposure prophylaxis, but not from doctors who were supposed to provide it, friends from Russia helped and promptly transferred it.

Soon he will go for tests, and if he is around, he wants to go to an appointment with the very same doctor: “Since it was she who jeopardized my health and my life. Requirements of this kind from a doctor, in my opinion, violate the law on medical confidentiality; disclosing a person’s HIV status can be a criminal offense. After all, there are people who will use this information far from for good purposes. ”

How to change the situation?

The case of Ilya is a good demonstration of how HIV prevention is related to legislative norms, in particular, with 157 articles, Statkevich believes. “Recently this topic has been actively discussed, there are real cases of imprisonment. And many people seek to keep secrets at all costs so as not to harm the HIV-positive partner, ”she adds.

A public organization advocates a reduction in the criminalization of HIV infection by offering several points. First, reclassify cases under article 157 from public to private accusation. Thus, they will be initiated not by representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs or the Prosecutor’s Office, but at the initiative of a person who has suffered from a crime. In addition, the case may be closed in case of reconciliation of the parties.

Secondly, the possibility of blackmail by an HIV-negative partner should be excluded. To do this, community activists offer either to issue an “informed consent to have sex with an HIV-positive partner,” suppose a infectious diseases doctor; or, which seems more realistic, to supplement the criminalizing article with the phrase “in the event of failure to take measures to prevent infection (refusal to take antiretroviral therapy or use a condom)”.

Thirdly, to define the terms of the Criminal Code article itself more clearly, for example, what is the “knowledge” and so on. Since the vagueness of the wording allows them to be interpreted unnecessarily broadly.

“Medical prophylaxis after cases of unprotected sex is sometimes needed, but it should not become a substitute for concern about the safety of one’s sexual behavior, the use of condoms,” says Goloborudko.

The doctor adds that there is another effective way of prevention for people with increased risk of infection, for example, for men who have sex with men, and for sex workers – pre-contact prophylaxis (PrEP or PrEP).

However, there is a problem with access to these pills, and both DCT and PEP. Antiretroviral drugs in Belarus are procured centrally for the state budget, and pharmacies simply do not arrive, that is, it is impossible to buy them yourself, at least legally. This means that due to stigma, fear to open up even to doctors and unwillingness to donate partners, the number of people with HIV may increase. The principle is simple: do not drink therapy – either you are infected yourself, or you transmit the virus to another. It remains to hope that a program on pre-and post-exposure prophylaxis may appear in Belarus (at least now such conversations are under way), which could be given out not only in state hospitals, but also in public organizations.


 

Нас ждет тюрьма: чего боятся дискордантные пары в Беларуси

Илья и Евгений — пара геев из Беларуси. Они уже несколько лет вместе и называют себя «интересной парочкой», поскольку живут в дискордантных отношениях. Недавно во время секса у них порвался презерватив. Они приняли решение начать постконтактную профилактику (ПКП). Казалось бы, все просто: в течение 72 часов после риска инфицирования нужно начать принимать таблетки. Тем более что шаги известны: прийти к врачу, объяснить ситуацию, получить таблетки, пропить месячный курс — и о проблеме можно забыть. Но из-за особенностей местного законодательства получить помощь гораздо сложнее, чем кажется на первый взгляд. СПИД.ЦЕНТР разбирался, с чем сталкиваются белорусские дискордантные пары и какие есть выходы из сложившейся в республике ситуации.

Не сдал — не получил

«Как только у нас порвался презерватив, мы посоветовались с друзьями и поехали в Минск [в инфекционную больницу] на улицу Кропоткина за ПКП», — вспоминает Илья. Врач его выслушал и с «очень недовольным лицом» попросил раскрыть имя партнера. Мотивировав тем, что молодого человека необходимо поставить на учет и в подобных случаях медицинский работник «должен докладывать правоохранительным органам».

Мужчина уточнил, не отменен ли еще такой закон, но ему пояснили, что он действует и партнер понесет уголовную ответственность. Само собой, мужчина отказался сдавать Евгения, но врач настаивала: «Откуда мне знать? Может быть, вы клевещете на кого-нибудь? Вдруг вы сейчас пойдете продавать лекарства, которые я вам выдам?». Таблетки так и не дали.

Действительно, в Уголовном кодексе Беларуси есть ст. 157 (Заражение вирусом иммунодефицита человека), согласно которой, если человек заведомо поставил другого в опасность инфицирования ВИЧ, он может получить вплоть до тюремного срока. Примечательно, что статья предусматривала уголовную ответственность, даже если пострадавшая сторона не имела никаких претензий к ответчику. А инициировать возбуждение дела могут врачи-инфекционисты. Причем Беларусь вместе с Россией — лидеры по уголовному преследованию людей с ВИЧ. Например, в 2017 году было возбуждено 130 уголовных дел по ст. 157 УК Республики Беларусь.

Однако в ближайшее время законодательство в республике может быть смягчено, так, 19 декабря 2018 года внесена поправка о декриминализации передачи болезни. Согласно ей, люди с диагнозом больше не будут подвергаться уголовному преследованию «за постановку в угрозу передачи ВИЧ и заражение ВИЧ» своих партнеров, если они заранее уведомили их о своем диагнозе. Сейчас законопроект направлен для одобрения в Совет Республики и президенту.

«В законодательстве Беларуси все еще существует дюжина запретов для людей с ВИЧ-положительным статусом, — рассказывает председатель местной ВИЧ-сервисной организации «Позитивное движение» Ирина Статкевич. — В 2018 году внесли положительные изменения в норму «Детям, живущим с ВИЧ, запрещено заниматься спортом». Примечательно, что сами дети, живущие с ВИЧ, выступили инициаторами изменения нормы, а именно — ходили на встречу в Минздрав».

Кроме того, раньше людям с ВИЧ было запрещено усыновлять детей, сейчас эту статью пересмотрели, но все равно остались некоторые нюансы в применении.

Кто отвечает за здоровье?

Илья убежден, что ответственность за свое здоровье должен нести сам. Когда-то он сам работал консультантом по вопросам ВИЧ и проводил экспресс-тестирование, поэтому знал, что после незащищенного полового акта времени для ПКП очень мало, всего лишь трое суток.

«На мой взгляд, врач поступила очень непрофессионально, — сетует он. — Повод для беспокойства был — на тот момент мой молодой человек и я точно не знали его вирусную нагрузку».

«В Беларуси, как и во многих других странах, нет документа, который бы четко определял показания к проведению постконтактной профилактики, и это связано с объективными трудностями», — констатирует врач-инфекционист Николай Голоборудько.

По его словам, ПКП предоставляют в случаях профессиональных рисков, например, если медсестра укололась шприцем, которым забирала кровь у ВИЧ-положительного пациента. Или в некоторых бытовых ситуациях (например, ребенок нашел в песочнице шприц и укололся им) или при определенных половых контактах (например, после изнасилования).

Статкевич соглашается с отсутствием регламента выдачи таких таблеток. «Поэтому требование назвать своего партнера в данной связи вряд ли существует, — уточняет она, предполагая, что врач могла спрашивать данные партнера для оценки рисков. — Доктор мог посмотреть информацию о вирусной нагрузке в учетной карточке партнера и таким образом понять, насколько ситуация действительно экстренная».

В конечном счете постконтактную профилактику Илья все же получил, но не от врачей, которые должны ее предоставить, — помогли знакомые из России, оперативно передали ее.

Скоро он пойдет сдавать анализы, и если «плюсанет», то хочет попасть на прием к тому же самому врачу: «Так как это она поставила под угрозу мое здоровье и мою жизнь. Требования такого рода от врача, по моему мнению, нарушают закон о врачебной тайне, раскрытие ВИЧ-статуса человека может быть уголовно наказуемым. Ведь есть люди, которые данную информацию будут использовать далеко не для благих целей».

Как изменить ситуацию?

Случай Ильи — хорошая демонстрация того, как связана профилактика ВИЧ с законодательными нормами, в частности со 157 статьей, считает Статкевич. «В последнее время эта тема активно обсуждается, есть реальные случаи лишения свободы. А многие люди стремятся сохранить тайну любой ценой, чтобы не нанести вред ВИЧ-положительному партнеру», — добавляет она.

Общественная организация ратует за снижение криминализации инфицирования ВИЧ, предлагая несколько пунктов. Во-первых, переквалифицировать дела по статье 157 с публичного обвинения в частное. Таким образом, они будут возбуждаться не представителями МВД или прокуратуры, а по инициативе человека, пострадавшего от преступления. К тому же дела могут быть закрыты в случае примирения сторон.

Во-вторых, следует исключить возможность шантажа со стороны ВИЧ-отрицательного партнера. Для этого общественники предлагают либо оформлять «информированное согласие на вступление в половые контакты с ВИЧ-позитивным партнером», предположим, у врача-инфекциониста; или же, что кажется более реальным, дополнить криминализирующую статью фразой «в случае непринятия мер по профилактике заражения (отказ от приема антиретровирусной терапии либо от использования презерватива)».

В-третьих, более четко определить сами термины статьи УК, например, в чем заключается «заведомость» и так далее. Поскольку размытость формулировок позволяет трактовать их неоправданно широко.

«Медикаментозная профилактика после случаев незащищенного полового контакта иногда нужна, но она не должна становиться заменой заботы о безопасности своего полового поведения, использования презервативов», — говорит Голоборудько.

Врач добавляет, что есть другой эффективный способ профилактики для людей с повышенными рисками инфицирования, например, для мужчин, практикующих секс с мужчинами, и для секс-работниц — доконтактная профилактика (ДКП или PrEP).

Однако есть проблема с доступом к таким таблеткам, причем как ДКП, так и ПКП. Антиретровирусные препараты в Беларуси закупаются централизованно за госбюджет, а в аптеки просто не поступают, то есть купить их самостоятельно, по крайней мере легально, никак нельзя. А значит из-за стигмы, страха раскрыться даже врачам и нежелания сдавать партнеров количество людей с ВИЧ может увеличиваться. Принцип прост: не пьешь терапию — либо инфицируешься сам, либо передаешь вирус другому. Остается надеяться, что в Беларуси может появиться программа по до— и постконтактной профилактике (по крайней мере сейчас такие разговоры ведутся), которую могли бы выдавать не только в государственных больницах, но и в общественных организациях.

US: Indiana prison inmate faces charges of “battery by bodily waste leading to infection” for spitting at prison officers

Elkhart County Jail inmate faces new charges after spitting on two officers
February 28, 2019

Published in WSBT22 on February 27, 2019

Elkhart County Jail inmate faces new charges after spitting on two officers

An Elkhart County Jail inmate is facing new charges after spitting at two officers.

DX was already in custody for a domestic battery charge. He was taken into custody for an incident back in 2017.

On February 15, police say X was threatening correctional officers when they came into his cell.

When they tried to move him into another cell, he started to resist. He then kicked one officer and spit on two others.

Court documents indicate X is HIV positive, which is why he is now facing two charges of ‘battery by bodily waste leading to infection’ as well as intimidation.

HIV cannot be spread through saliva.

However, Indiana has a law where if there is intention to expose others to HIV, that suspect can face stricter charges.

According to the Center for HIV Law and Policy, if someone intentionally exposes others to bodily fluid that’s HIV positive — which includes saliva — they can face two and a half years in prison.

But if it’s towards a public safety official, the charge can be bumped up to six years in prison.

We reached out to the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department and they wouldn’t comment on the situation.

An officer did say they understand the heightened risk they face.

US: Five laws categorised as “bad” laws by the Human Rights Campaign in Missouri , including HIV/AIDS criminalisation laws

Missouri ranked in lowest category for LGBTQ protections, nondiscrimination
February 27, 2019

Missouri ranked in lowest category for LGBTQ protections, nondiscrimination

The Human Rights Campaign recently released their fifth annual State Equality Index — a state-by-state report detailing statewide laws and policies that affect LGBTQ people, assessing how well states are doing to protect LGBTQ individuals from discrimination.

This year, Missouri received the lowest rating, “High Priority to Achieve Basic Equality.” This rating is given to states that focus on raising suport for basic LGBTQ equality laws, such as non-discrimination laws, and for states focusing on municipal protections for LGBTQ people including opposing negative legislation.

Twenty-eight states earned this rating. Seventeen states earned the highest rating, “Working Toward Innovative Equality,” while the remaining five earned “Solidifying Equality” or “Building Equality.”

Karis Agnew, field director for PROMO, Missouri’s statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization, explained that they expected this rating for Missouri.

“It does not surprise me because there are basic protections that LGBTQ people lack in Missouri and those include protection of employment, housing and public accommodations,” Agnew said.

Missouri has a total of six laws that benefit LGBTQ people — hate crime laws, a college and universities non-discrimination law, a sexual orientation non-discrimination policy for state employees, an anti-bullying law specifically for cyberbullying, transgender inclusion in sports, and name and gender updates on identification documents for drivers licenses.

Missouri has five laws that the HRC categorizes as “bad” laws including HIV/AIDS criminalization laws, a state Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and transgender exclusions in state Medicaid coverage.

Missouri lacks all parenting laws such as parental presumption for same-sex couples, second parent adoption, and foster care non-discrimination. Missouri also lacks basic non-discrimination laws for employment, housing, public accommodation, education, adoption, foster care, insurance, credit, and jury selection.

The absence of youth laws in Missouri include anti-bullying laws, protection from conversion therapy, and laws to address LGBTQ youth homelessness. In the health and safety category, Missouri lacks laws including LGBTQ nondiscrimantion protections in Affordable Care Act exchanges, transgender healthcare coverage, and name and gender updates on identification documents for birth certificates.

Alex Padilla, co-president of Spectrum, an LGBTQ group at Missouri State Univerity, explained his fear regarding how few laws Missouri has protecting LGBTQ individuals like himself.

“Whenever I first came out, I was working at a fast food job and I was worried that I could be fired for who I was,” Padilla said.

He explained that he did a quick search online and found that there were no laws protecting him from being harassed or fired because of who he was.

Agnew, who prefers using gender-neutral pronouns, explained that although this rating is low, organizations like PROMO are working hard behind the scenes to make sure Missouri’s laws are progressing.

“When it comes to passing laws that are pro-equality, the thing that we really need the most to be able to do that is make sure that we don’t have bills that are anti-LGBTQ,” Agnew said.

Agnew explained that in 2018 five anti-LGBTQ laws were filed but PROMO worked to ensure zero made it to the governor’s desk to be signed.

“When those are filed, that is our priority, so it is really hard for us to file proactive legislation and pass proactive legislation when we have legislation that is harmful to LGBTQ people that we work so hard to prevent from passing,” Agnew said.

Agnew said a big reason why Missouri is far behind other states in passing pro-LGBTQ legislation is that Missouri legislators are not aware of what it is like to live as an LGBTQ individual.

“I think a lot of our legislators in Missouri honestly don’t know what it’s like to be LGBTQ — the majority of our legislators are not LGBTQ themselves,” Agnew said. “And because of that, I think a lot of them have a lot to learn from their constituents that are.”

Agnew said this year is the 21st year that PROMO has worked to file the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act, which would add protections for sexual orientation and gender identity in places of employment, housing and public accommodations.

“When their constituents aren’t bringing it up they assume it’s not important and not needed,” Agnew said. “The number one thing people can do is engage their elected officials and talk to them about why something like the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act is so important to them.”

Padilla explained how important it is for students to get involved.

“Help us lobby for equality, Padilla said. “Advocating for these things and showing that you are an ally is really helpful to all of Missouri and all of Missouri’s LGBTQ people.”

PROMO is hosting an “Equality Day,” a day of lobbying where people in the community come up to Jefferson City and talk to legislators about the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act on April 10.

 

Uganda: Mapping of the legal environment shows how the current criminal justice system discriminates against people living with HIV

Report shows how laws discriminate against HIV positive people
February 23, 2019

Published in the Daily Monitor on Febraury 22, 2019

Report shows how laws discriminate against HIV positive people

KAMPALA- Various existing laws criminalise people living with HIV/ Aids, according to a new report released in Kampala on Thursday.

The report is titled: “Draft report on the assessment and mapping of the legal environment on provisions of HIV and TB services to let populations, persons living with HIV and tuberculosis”

“The existing legal framework is not favourable for some categories of the key, vulnerable and priority populations to freely access health services in Uganda. Specifically, the lifestyles sex workers, men who have sex with men, transgender persons and makes them most affected by the existing legal framework in Uganda,” read part of the report

It adds: “The laws criminalise sex work, same sex relationships and drug use. This results into violence, harassment, disappointment of sex workers and their legal recourse to address injustice against them.” “The other law, the HIV and Aids prevention and Control Act although not specifically targeting key vulnerable and priority populations, has implications for both the general affected by HIV in Uganda.”

The report indicates that the HIV and Aids Prevention and Control Act 2014 provides for voluntary HIV testing in Sub Section 9. However, the voluntarism is not considered if a person commits a sexual offense as part of the criminal proceedings and yet Section 8 provides for identity of a person tested with HIV not to be disclosed or released to any person except in accordance with the law and medical standards.

The report was carried out by civil society organisation Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) in conjunction with Aids and Rights Alliance for South Africa (ARASA).

The current criminal justice system is also discriminative as it hands down more deterrent jail terms to those suspects found to be living with HIV than their counterparts that are not.

Reacting to the aforementioned finding, a law professor at Makerere University, Prof. Ben Twinomugisha, explained that sometimes it’s prudent for the prosecution to take an HIV test of a suspect accused of committing a sexual offense for purposes of securing a conviction.

However, he was also quick to say that this compulsory HIV testing will lead to violation of their human rights and that this will drive those infected away instead of going to hospital to get medication.

“But a civil society organisation and I, have since petitioned court challenging Section 43 of the HIV Prevention and Control Act about criminalization of HIV,”  Prof. Twinomugisha said

“Why is it that a person suffering from Hepatitis B, which is more deadly than HIV are not subjected to a test when they commit a crime,” he wondered.

The study was carried out in three districts of Gulu, Mbarara and Tororo.

The study was mainly about the extent to which laws and policies protect and promote the rights of persons living with HIV/ Aids, let populations like sex workers, truck drivers and fishermen can access health care and services.

The HIV prevalence in Uganda stands at 6.2%. In 2016, approximately 1.4 million people were living with HIV and 28,000 Ugandans were estimated to have died of Aids-related illness.

Brazil: 33-year-old man arrested and charged with aggravated homicide for alleged HIV transmission

Homem transmite HIV para companheira com intenção de matá–la
February 22, 2019

Published in Jornal do Commercio online on February 20, 2019 – Google translation, for article in Portuguese, scroll down.

Man transmits HIV to partner with intent to kill her

The suspect is alleged to have forged his medical tests to claim he was not HIV positive.

The civil police arrested a man after he transmitted the HIV virus to his partner with intent to kill her. PX, 33, was arrested on Tuesday (19th) at the Integrated Passenger Terminal, in the neighbourhood of Curado in Recife. The woman died after being stopped from taking treatment against the virus.

The investigations that led to the arrest of the suspect were coordinated by the Sao Lourenco da Mata Police Station. According to the delegate Diogo Santiago, the man was denounced by the Public Ministry of Pernambuco (MPPE) for aggravated homicide. The representative of the MPPE understood that “he carried on the crime by knowing that he had the virus and preventing his partner from taking medical treatment” said Santiago.

Forged tests

Still according to Diogo Santiago, X is alleged to have forged his medical tests results to deny that he had the virus to his former companion. “At the time he began a relationship with a young woman who was 14 years old while he was married to another woman.  She had sought out the adolescent’s family to report that the man was HIV positive. To deny the accusations from his wife, the man is alleged to have forged his test results” states the delegates.

The deputy believes that by the way he acts, X may have had other victims. For this reason, with the disclosure of the picture of the suspect, the police asks for possible new victims to come forward and denounce the man. “We believe that there may be more victims, first because of his behaviour, denying that he was HIV positive, and secondly because according to information he enjoyed going to parties and shows with young girls. There are even reports that he was already in a new relationship while his life partner was bedridden, “said the delegate Diogo Santiago. 

“We have two goals with the divulgation of the man’s picture: the first one is for the people who have been involved with him to seek medical attention so they can have a diagnosis” said Diogo Santiago. The second one is for them to come to the police station to register the occurrence so that the police can investigate and charge him if other people have been infected by the suspect, “said Diogo Santiago.


 

Homem transmite HIV para companheira com intenção de matá-la

O suspeito teria forjado exames médicos para afirmar não ser soropositivo

A Polícia Civil prendeu um homem após ele transmitir o vírus do HIV para sua companheira com intenção de matá-la. Paulo Cesar da Silva, de 33 anos, foi preso nessa terça-feira (19), no Terminal Integrados de Passageiros (TIP), no bairro do Curado, no Recife. A mulher morreu após ser impedida de realizar tratamento contra o vírus.

As investigaçóes que levaram à prisão do suspeito foram coordenadas pela Delegacia de São Lourenço da Mata. De acordo com o delegado Diogo Santiago, o homem foi denunciado pelo Ministério Público de Pernambuco (MPPE) por homicídio qualificado. “O representante do MPPE entendeu que ele praticou esse tipo de crime por conhecimento que ele tinha o vírus e ter impedido sua companheira de realizar o tratamento médico”, disse Santiago.

Exames forjados

Ainda segundo Diogo Santiago, Paulo Cesar teria forjado exames médicos para desmentir sua ex-companheira, que teria dito que ele seria soropositivo. “Na época que ele começou a se relacionar com a jovem, que tinha 14 anos, ele era casado com outra mulher. Ela havia procurado a família da adolescente para informar que o homem seria soropositivo. Para desmentir sua esposa, o homem teria forjado exames de sangue”, afirmou o delegado.

O delegado acredita que, pela forma de agir, Paulo pode ter feito outras vítimas. Para isso, com a divulgação da imagem do suspeito, a polícia pede para possíveis novas vítimas denunciem o homem. “Acreditamos que possa haver mais vítimas. Primeiro pelo comportamento dele de negar que ele é soropositivo e por, segundo informaçóes, gostar de ir a festas e shows com meninas jovens. Inclusive, há relatos de que ele já estaria em um novo relacionamento, enquanto sua companheira estava acamada”, falou o delegado Diogo Santiago.

“Temos dois objetivos com a divulgação da imagem dele. O primeiro é para que as pessoas que se relacionaram com ele procurem atendimento médico para que haja um diagnóstico. Segundo é que procurem a delegacia para registrar a ocorrência para que a polícia possa investigar e responsabilizar ele, caso outras pessoas tenham sido infectadas pelo suspeito”, disse Diogo Santiago.

 

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