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Zimbabwe: Calls to repeal law on HIV transmission and non-disclosure as it is not supported by scientific evidence

Repeal law on transmission of HIV
December 2, 2018

Repeal law on transmission of HIV

HARARE – There are calls to repeal a law that imposes criminal penalties on people who know they have HIV and engage in behaviours that might transmit the virus to others, without disclosing their status.

Deputy director HIV/Aids and STIs in the Health and Child Care ministry, Tsitsi Apollo, told delegates this week at a Symposium on HIV and Law organised by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and National Aids Council that Section 79 (1) of the Criminal Codification and Reform Act on deliberate transmission of HIV presents a barrier towards the country’s goal of reaching the 1st 90 by end of 2020.

She was referring to an ambitious goal set by UNAiDS, the UN agency dealing with the disease, to tackle the epidemic by 2020 by having 90 percent of people with HIV to know their status, 90 percent of diagnosed people to be on treatment, and 90 percent of those on treatment to have suppressed levels of the virus in their bodies.

“The law should be repealed as it violates the rights of recipients of care. The law should be grounded with scientific evidence to facilitate justice delivery”  Apollo said.

She said the law draws conclusions on deliberate HIV transmission from the fact that one is on ARVs – a direct contradiction of science. “It is difficult to ascertain direction of HIV transmission. Phylogenic analysis of virus samples from defendant and complainant is pre-requisite. It is difficult to exclude other possible sources of infection, even with evidence of a negative status at start of relationship…”

Published in Daily News on December 1, 2018

 

US: Man living with HIV charged with trying to transmit HIV with body fluid in Illinois for biting police officer

Man Charged With Trying to Give Police Officer HIV by Biting Him
December 2, 2018

Man Charged With Trying to Give Police Officer HIV by Biting Him

A northern Illinois man has been charged with trying to give an officer HIV by biting him in the leg.

Police in the community of Cary tell The Northwest Herald that the incident happened in June when police went to the home of 37-year-old Christopher J. Seerden for a well-being check. They say Seerden allegedly kicked one officer and, after announcing that he had AIDS, bit another one. Police say the officer was wearing several layers of clothing and the bite didn’t break the skin or even leave a mark.

After police confirmed Seerden is HIV positive, he was arrested last Wednesday on charges of transmitting HIV with body fluid, aggravated battery to a peace officer and aggravated assault of a peace officer.

Canada: New directive to limit unjust prosecutions against people living with HIV to be issued by Attorney General of Canada

Attorney General of Canada to issue Directive Regarding Prosecutions of HIV Non–Disclosure Cases
December 2, 2018

OTTAWADec. 1, 2018 /CNW/ – The Government of Canada is committed to a fair, responsive and effective criminal justice system that protects Canadians, holds offenders to account, supports vulnerable people, and respects the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Today, on the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced that she will issue a directive related to the prosecution of HIV non-disclosure cases under the federal jurisdiction of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada.

In issuing the Directive, the Government of Canada recognizes the over-criminalization of HIV non-disclosure discourages many individuals from being tested and seeking treatment, and further stigmatizes those living with HIV or AIDS.

This Directive is a real step toward ensuring an appropriate and evidence-based criminal justice system response to cases of HIV non-disclosure. In so doing, it will harmonize federal prosecutorial practices with the scientific evidence on risks of sexual transmission of HIV while recognizing that non-disclosure of HIV is first and foremost a public health matter.

On December 1, 2016, Minister Wilson-Raybould committed to working with her provincial and territorial counterparts, affected communities, and medical professionals to examine the criminal justice system’s response to non-disclosure of HIV status. A year later, on December 1, 2017, the Department of Justice issued its report, The Criminal Justice System’s Response to Non-Disclosure of HIV. The Directive will draw upon the recommendations made concerning prosecutorial discretion. It will provide guidance to federal prosecutors in the three territories, ensuring coherent and consistent prosecution practices.

In its 2012 Mabior decision, the Supreme Court of Canada made it clear that persons living with HIV must disclose their HIV status prior to engaging in sexual activity that poses a “realistic possibility of transmission”; and the most recent scientific evidence on the risks of sexual transmission of HIV should inform this test.

The Directive to be issued by the Attorney General of Canada will reflect the most recent scientific evidence related to the risks of sexual transmission of HIV, as reviewed by the Public Health Agency of Canada, as well as the applicable criminal law as clarified by the Supreme Court of Canada. The Directive will state that, in HIV non-disclosure cases, the Director:

  • shall not prosecute where the person living with HIV has maintained a suppressed viral load (i.e. under 200 copies of the virus per millilitre of blood) because there is no realistic possibility of transmission;
  • shall generally not prosecute where the person has not maintained a suppressed viral load but used condoms or engaged only in oral sex or was taking treatment as prescribed unless other risk factors are present, because there is likely no realistic possibility of transmission in such cases;
  • shall prosecute using non-sexual criminal offences instead of sexual offences where this would better align with the individual’s situation, such as cases where the individual’s conduct was less blameworthy; and
  • must take into account whether a person living with HIV has sought or received services from public health authorities, in order to determine whether it is in the public interest to pursue criminal charges.

The criminal law will continue to apply to persons living with HIV if they do not disclose, or misrepresent, their HIV status before sexual activity that poses a realistic possibility of HIV transmission.

The Director of Public Prosecutions Act requires that directives from the Attorney General of Canada be published in the Canada Gazette. The Directive will take effect upon publication in Part I of the Canada Gazette on Saturday, December 8, 2018.

Quote
“Our criminal justice system must be responsive to current knowledge, including the most recent medical science on HIV transmission. I am proud of this important step forward in reducing the stigmatization of Canadians living with HIV while demonstrating how a scientific, evidence-based approach can help our criminal justice system remain fair, responsive and effective.”

The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Quick Facts

  • World AIDS Day originated at the 1988 World Summit of Ministers of Health on Programmes for AIDS Prevention. It is marked on December 1 of every year. This year’s theme is “Know your status”.
  • Canada’s efforts to detect and treat HIV have resulted in the majority of persons living with HIV in Canada knowing their status and receiving appropriate treatment.
  • There is no HIV-specific offence in the Criminal Code. However, persons living with HIV who do not disclose their status may be charged with aggravated sexual assault because the non-disclosure is found to invalidate their partner’s consent to engage in sexual activity in certain circumstances. This is the most serious sexual offence in the Criminal Code.
  • The Directive will take into consideration current scientific evidence and research on HIV transmission. It will provide clear direction to federal prosecutors in the territories when exercising their discretion to decide whether to prosecute HIV non-disclosure cases. The research supporting the development of the Directive was compiled by the Public Health Agency of Canada, informed the Department of Justice Canada’s Report on the Criminal Justice System’s Response to Non-Disclosure of HIV, and was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
  • The Directive is the result of significant engagement and consultation with LGBTQ2+ advocates, including the HIV/AIDS Legal Network, leading academics in the field, health professionals, as well as the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Associated Links

Stay Connected

SOURCE Department of Justice Canada

For further information: media may contact: Célia Canon, Communications Advisor, Office of the Minister of Justice, 613-862-3270; Media Relations, Department of Justice Canada, 613-957-4207, media@justice.gc.ca

Related Links

http://www.justice.gc.ca/

Russia: 37-year-old man facing up to 8 years in jail in Ufa for alleged HIV infection

Уфимец намеренно заразил ВИЧ трех женщин, дело передали в суд
November 30, 2018

Ufimets deliberately infected three women with HIV, the case was brought to court (google translation – For original article in Russian, scroll down)

A man faces imprisonment for up to eight years

A 37-year-old Ufimets will be brought to trial on charges of deliberately infecting three women with HIV. The indictment in a criminal case approved by the prosecutor’s office of the Ordzhonikidze district. 

According to investigators, the man found out about his status back in 2012, when HIV was when his pregnant partner was diagnosed. The man gave blood for testing, it was also confirmed that he has a human immunodeficiency virus. 

The Ufimets broke up with his girlfriend, but he began to get acquainted with others in social networks and enter into intimate communication with them. He preferred not to dwell on his terrible diagnosis.

– He intentionally infected them. As a result, three women became ill with the human immunodeficiency virus. Three more he infected before he learned about his disease, – told the press service of the Republican Prosecutor’s Office of Bashkiria.

The man did not admit his guilt. The case file was transferred to the court for consideration on the merits.

Published on November 30, 2018 in UFA1

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Уфимец намеренно заразил ВИЧ трех женщин, дело передали в суд

Мужчине грозит лишение свободы на срок до восьми лет

По обвинению в умышленном заражении ВИЧ трёх женщин перед судом предстанет 37-летний уфимец. Обвинительное заключение по уголовному делу утвердила прокуратура Орджоникидзевского района. 

По версии следствия, о своем статусе мужчина узнал еще в 2012 году, когда диагноз ВИЧ поставили его беременной сожительнице. Мужчина тоже сдал кровь на анализ, он-то и подтвердил, что вирус иммунодефицита человека есть и у него. 

С подругой уфимец расстался, зато стал знакомиться в соцсетях с другими и вступать с ними в интимную связь. О своем страшном диагнозе он предпочитал не распространяться.

— Он умышленно заражал их. В результате вирусом иммунодефицита человека заболели три женщины. Еще трех он заразил до того, как узнал о своем заболевании, — рассказали в пресс-службе республиканской прокуратуры Башкирии.

Свою вину мужчина так и не признал. Материалы дела передали в суд для рассмотрения по существу.

В мае этого года 46-летний житель Стерлитамака свел счеты со своей пассией за то, что она заразила его неизлечимой венерической болезнью. Мужчина ударил женщину ножом, она скончалась от кровопотери. 

 

Canada: Male sex worker charged with aggravated sexual assault for alleged HIV non disclosure

Police charge 28–year–old with aggravated sexual assault
November 29, 2018

Edmonton police released the name of a man Wednesday accused of aggravated sexual assault for failing to disclose his HIV status to a partner.

Police say the move was needed to identify others who may have contracted HIV from the individual, who they said works in the sex trade. But a local group that works with people with HIV criticized the decision, saying that information could be found through the health care system.

A news release Wednesday said that 28-year-old Anthony Lee Taylor has been charged with aggravated sexual assault. Police said a 57-year-old man came to them in May to report he had contracted HIV after having consensual sex with the accused on two occasions in late 2016.

The news release said Taylor is considered to have a high HIV viral load and that he has not sought treatment in a number of years.

“Due to Taylor’s work in the sex trade and high-risk lifestyle, detectives from the Edmonton Police Service’s sexual assault section believe there could be additional complainants who may have engaged in sexual relations with the accused, without being informed by Taylor of his medical history,” the news release stated.

 

Taylor sometimes presents as a woman and goes by a number of aliases including Alex, Nikki, Tatiana and/or Tiana, police said.

Laura Keegan, director of public engagement with HIV Edmonton, said police are allowed under current law to release sensitive health information about people in such cases, but criticized the decision.

“We cannot comment on this specific case, however we stand by the fact that the current Canadian Criminal Code on HIV non-disclosure is a disproportionate response to non-disclosure of HIV status,” she wrote in an email. “In fact, the very disproportionate response only fuels more stigma and discrimination.”

“HIV Edmonton believes in using our public health system and Alberta Health Services to assist in reaching previous partners and does not condone Edmonton Police Services decision to release sensitive personal health information,” she wrote.

Police urged anyone who had had sex with the accused without knowing his medical history to visit a doctor and to call them on the police non-emergency line.

Published on November 29, 2018 in Edmonton Journal

Uganda: 26-year-old housemaid arrested and charged for allegedly breastfeeding her employer’s baby

Housemaid living with HIV remanded over allegations of breast–feeding baby
November 26, 2018

Update on November 26, 2018:  Hearing postponed until December 11, bail denied and woman charged for allegedly breastfeeding her boss’ baby to remain in women’s prison until then. See article below: 

Infected 20-year old housemaid remanded over breasting boss’ baby

KAMPALA- A 20-year-old housemaid Margaret Kanyunyuzi has been charged and remanded to Luzira Prison for allegedly breastfeeding her boss’ nine months baby well knowing that she was HIV positive.

Kanyunyuzi appeared before City Hall court Grade One Magistrate Beatrice Kainza who read to her the charge which she denied.

The suspect had asked the court to grant her bail pending hearing of the matter but the trial magistrate has declined saying the case is capital in nature, tricky and that witnesses are ready to testify.

The magistrate instead further remanded her to Luzira women’s prison until December 11, 2018 for hearing to commence.

Prosecution states that between August 19 and 25, 2018 at Katumba Zone Kyanja in Kampala,  Kanyunyuzi knowingly or having reasons to believe that she was HIV positive unlawfully breastfed her boss’ baby of nine months.

Published on November 26, 2018 in PML Daily

 

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Housemaid living with HIV remanded over allegations of breast-feeding baby

KAMPALA – City Hall court has charged and remanded to Luzira a 26-year-old housemaid for allegedly breastfeeding her boss’s 9 months old baby well knowing that she is HIV positive.

Margaret Kanyunyuzi appeared before Grade One Magistrate Ms Beatrice Kainza who formerly read to her the offence of doing an act likely to spread disease and she denied it. The case has been adjourned to September 17.

Prosecution states that Kanyunyuzi a resident of Kyanja in Kampala, between 19th and 25th August 2018 at Katumba zone Kyanja knowing or having reasons to believe that she was HIV positive breastfed her boss’s, 9 months baby.

Court heard that Kanyunyuzi used to breastfeed the kid whenever the mother goes for work.

Published on PML Daily on September 3, 2018

 

 

Uganda: New efforts underway in Uganda to challenge HIV legislation, especially its provisions on the disclosure of HIV status

New effort against HIV/AIDS law
November 21, 2018

Kampala, Uganda | IAN KATUSIIME | Rosemary Namubiru, a nurse, was in 2014 sentenced to three years in jail for criminal negligence over what seemed a potential infection of a baby with HIV the virus that causes AIDS. Her crime was that as an HIV positive nurse, she placed the life of a baby in danger when she pricked herself with an injection she was administering.

Canada: Review undertaken as part of government’s examination of HIV nondisclosure laws confirms risk of sexual transmission when viral load is suppressed is virtually zero

Risk of sexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus with antiretroviral therapy, suppressed viral load and condom use: a systematic review
November 20, 2018

Risk of sexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus with antiretroviral therapy, suppressed viral load and condom use: a systematic review

Abstract

Background: The Public Health Agency of Canada reviewed sexual transmission of HIV between serodiscordant partners to support examination of the criminal justice system response to HIV nondisclosure by the Department of Justice of Canada. We sought to determine HIV transmission risk when an HIV-positive partner takes antiretroviral therapy, has a suppressed viral load or uses condoms.

Methods: We conducted an overview and systematic review update by searching MEDLINE and other databases (Jan. 1, 2007, to Mar. 13, 2017; and Nov. 1, 2012, to Apr. 27, 2017, respectively). We considered reviews and studies about absolute risk of sexual transmission of HIV between serodiscordant partners to be eligible for inclusion. We used A Measurement Tool to Assess Systematic Reviews (AMSTAR) for review quality, Quality in Prognosis Studies (QUIPS) instrument for study risk of bias and then the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach to assess the quality of evidence across studies. We calculated HIV incidence per 100 person-years with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). We assigned risk categories according to potential for and evidence of HIV transmission.

Results: We identified 12 reviews. We selected 1 review to estimate risk of HIV transmission for condom use without antiretroviral therapy (1.14 transmissions/100 person-years, 95% CI 0.56–2.04; low risk). We identified 11 studies with 23 transmissions over 10 511 person-years with antiretroviral therapy (0.22 transmissions/ 100 person-years, 95% CI 0.14–0.33; low risk). We found no transmissions with antiretroviral therapy and a viral load of less than 200 copies/mL across consecutive measurements 4 to 6 months apart (0.00 transmissions/100 person-years, 95% CI 0.00–0.28; negligible risk regardless of condom use).

For full study see: http://www.cmaj.ca/content/190/46/E1350

US: Michigan Department of Corrections agrees to amend policies that allowed disproportionate punishment of incarcerated people living with HIV

Michigan Department of Corrections agrees to amend policies that dole out harsher punishments to HIV–positive prisoners
November 16, 2018

Michigan Department of Corrections agrees to amend policies that dole out harsher punishments to HIV-positive prisoners

HIV-positive prisoner was placed in solitary confinement and lost privileges for having consensual sex with another prisoner

The Michigan Department of Corrections has agreed to amend its policies allowing harsher punishments to be handed down against HIV-positive prisoners as part of a settlement related to a 2015 lawsuit.

John Dorn, an HIV-positive prisoner in the custody of the Department of Corrections, sued the agency after he was disciplined for engaging in consensual sex with another prisoner. While HIV-negative prisoners found guilty of this offense are generally only subjected to a 30-day loss of privileges, Dorn was moved to a high-security facility and placed in solitary confinement for more than 21 months.

Dorn was also punished with loss of a paid work assignment that gave him a great degree of freedom, loss of personal property, loss of access to educational and religious programming, loss of access to the law library — despite having an active pending appeal in which he was expected to represent himself — and an inability to access the telephone.

Enlisting the help of Lambda Legal and Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service, Dorn sued MDOC, alleging it had discriminated against him based on his HIV status, which is a violation of Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act. After years of legal wrangling — including a partial dismissal and eventual reinstatement of Dorn’s lawsuit, MDOC eventually decided to settle out of court.

As part of the settlement, the agency agreed to make “substantive changes” to its policy directive allowing disproportionate punishment of prisoners with HIV without adequate justification. MDOC also agreed to review its other policies, reassess the status of other individuals who were placed in solitary confinement under the old policy, and pay Dorn $150,000.

“While this outcome has taken many years to achieve, it was worth the fight,” Dorn said in a statement. “I lost over 21 months of my life to solitary confinement for no good reason because of the prior MDOC policy directive. No human being should have to endure that type of punishment.

“In my case, the directive that led to nearly two years of isolation was based on old science. It was also based on a presumption that did not consider the actual risk of transmission,” added Dorn, who takes antiretroviral medication and whose viral load is undetectable. “I am proud that I survived to tell my story.  I am also satisfied that I was able to fight for changes in the system that will help other incarcerated people living with HIV in Michigan not experience what I, and others, have.”

Dorn’s lawyers celebrated the settlement as progress in how HIV-positive prisoners are treated.

“Today’s settlement sends a strong message that state departments of corrections that have policies singling out incarcerated people living with HIV must comply with federal disability law,” Richard Saenz, a senior attorney and criminal justice and police misconduct strategist with Lambda Legal, said in a statement. “Under the settlement, the MDOC must certify whether the prisoner’s behavior presented a significant risk of HIV transmission. We are pleased with the outcome, not only for Mr. Dorn, but also for other incarcerated people living with HIV in MDOC custody.”

“Updating corrections policies to include the latest science about HIV and its transmission are an important step in the ongoing work of de-stigmatizing HIV,” Scott Schoettes, the director of Lambda Legal’s HIV Project, said in a statement. “Like state laws that unjustifiably criminalize the sex lives of people living with HIV, these policies in correctional settings have not kept up with the science and the benefits of consistent medical treatment, which makes it impossible to transmit HIV.”

“Advocating for and protecting the legal rights of people with disabilities in Michigan is the state-designated work of the Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service,” MPAS Staff Attorney Chris Davis added. “No one’s HIV status should result in policy decisions and draconian punishments predicated on outdated information and science.”

Published on November 15, 2018 in Metro Weekly

 

Russia: Criminal case initiated in Tyumen against man living with HIV for alleged HIV transmission

November 14, 2018

Police opened a case on a Tyumen citizen who infected her partner with HIV (google translation, for original article please scroll down)

Tyumen policemen detained a 40-year-old local resident who infected his female partner with HIV infection. She found out about her positive status quite by accident when she went to the hospital for a certificate. After that, the 40-year-old Tyumenka turned to her partner with questions about the state of health, but he denied the fact of her infection. Then the woman went to the police. 
– The suspect was diagnosed with HIV, he was warned about criminal liability in case of infection of another person. Knowing about her illness, a Tyumen resident had sexual intercourse with a female partner several times, without warning her about a possible infection, explained Maria Novopashina, press secretary of the city Ministry of Internal Affairs. 

It is known that the couple lived together for about a year. The man discovered HIV more than two years ago. 

Now a criminal case has been initiated on this fact, a man faces up to five years in prison. 

This is not the first case of HIV infection of previously healthy sexual partners. In early November, the Tyumen policemen detained a man who knowingly infected a new friend at a party.. A similar situation happened in the Vagai district two years ago. A woman who has HIV has an intimate relationship with a fellow villager and infected him . A year later, the man was diagnosed with a dangerous infection. As a result, a 33-year-old woman was put on trial. She was found guilty of infecting her partner with HIV, but was left free .

Published on November 14 in 72ru

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Полицейские завели дело на тюменца, который заразил сожительницу ВИЧ-инфекцией

Тюменские полицейские задержали 40-летнего местного жителя, который заразил ВИЧ- инфекцией свою сожительницу. Она узнала о своём положительном статусе совершенно случайно, когда пошла в больницу за справкой. После этого 40-летняя тюменка обратилась с вопросами о состоянии здоровья к своему партнеру, но тот отрицал факт своего заражения. Тогда женщина пошла в полицию. 
— У подозреваемого выявлена ВИЧ-инфекция, он был предупрежден об уголовной ответственности в случае заражения другого лица. Зная о своем заболевании, тюменец неоднократно вступал в половую связь с сожительницей, не предупредив её о возможном заражении, — пояснила Мария Новопашина, пресс-секретарь городского УМВД. 

Известно, что пара жила вместе около года. У мужчины ВИЧ обнаружили более двух лет назад. 

Сейчас по данному факту возбуждено уголовное дело, мужчине грозит до пяти лет лишения свободы. 

Это не первый случай заражения ВИЧ ранее здоровых половых партнеров. Тюменские полицейские в начале ноября задержали мужчину, который осознанно заразил новую знакомую на вечеринке. Похожая ситуация случилась в Вагайском районе два года назад. Женщина, болеющая ВИЧ, вступила в интимную связь с односельчанином и заразила его. Через год у мужчины была выявлена опасная инфекция. В результате этого 33-летнюю женщину отдали под суд. Ее признали виновной в заражении партнера ВИЧ-инфекцией, но оставили на свободе.

Оригинал материала: https://72.ru/text/gorod/65617241/

 

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