Livestream: HIV IS NOT A CRIME III National Training Academy: Plenary 6 – Leave No One Behind: Intersections of HIV Criminalization with Sex Work, Drug / Syringe Use, and Immigration (HJN, 2018)

HIV IS NOT A CRIME III National Training Academy Live from the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 6 June 2018

Live stream hosted by Mark S King www.myfabulousdisease.com

This live stream was brought to you by HIV Justice Network www.hivjustice.net

Directed and produced by Nicholas Feustel

Running order (click on the time cues to jump there):

1) Unscheduled action by people with disabilities 00:08

2) Pre-show with Mark S King and guests 05:39

3) Plenary 09:35

4) After show 1:28:39

Introduced by Allison Nichol SERO Project WASHINGTON DC Facilitated by Carrie Foote HIV Modernization Movement INDIANA With Tiffany Moore Criminalization survivor TENNESSEE Cris Sardina Desiree Alliance ARKANSAS Marco Castro-Bojorquez US PLHIV Caucus and HIVenas Abiertas CALIFORNIA Chris Abert Indiana Recovery Alliance INDIANA Zaniya James L.A.T.E. Project INDIANA

Side show interviews with Arneta Rogers Positive Women’s Network – USA CALIFORNIA

Livestream: HIV IS NOT A CRIME III National Training Academy: Plenary 5 – From Mexico to Colombia: The Latin-American Fight Against Criminalization (HJN, 2018)

HIV IS NOT A CRIME III National Training Academy Live from the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 5 June 2018

Live stream hosted by Mark S King www.myfabulousdisease.com

This live stream was brought to you by HIV Justice Network www.hivjustice.net

Directed and produced by Nicholas Feustel

Running order (click on the time cues to jump there):

1) Pre-show with Mark S King and guests 00:08

2) Plenary 13:02

3) After show 1:53:48

Introduced by Naina Khanna Positive Women’s Network – USA CALIFORNIA Facilitated by Gonzalo Aburto SERO Project NEW YORK Dr Patricia Ponce Red Mexicana de Organizaciones contra la Criminalización del VIH MEXICO Ricardo Hernandez Forcada Red Mexicana de Organizaciones contra la Criminalización del VIH MEXICO Leonardo Bastidas Red Mexicana de Organizaciones contra la Criminalización del VIH MEXICO Brisa Gomez Red Mexicana de Organizaciones contra la Criminalización del VIH MEXICO Dr Alfredo Daniel Bernal Red Mexicana de Organizaciones contra la Criminalización del VIH MEXICO Paola Marcela Iregui Parra Universidad del Rosario COLOMBIA German Humberto Rincon Perfetti Lawyer COLUMBIA Interpreter: Liz Essary Cabina Event Interpreting INDIANA

Side show interviews with Diego Grajalez CNET+ Belize, Edwin J Bernard HIV Justice Network UK and Marco Castro-Bojorquez USPLHIV Caucus and HIVenas Abiertas CALIFORNIA

Livestream: HIV IS NOT A CRIME III National Training Academy: Plenary 4 – Towards Liberation: Advancing a Racially Just HIV Criminalization Reform Movement (HJN, 2018)

[FYI: We didn’t live stream Plenary 3 due to confidentality concerns

HIV IS NOT A CRIME III National Training Academy Live from the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 5 June 2018 ]

Live stream hosted by Mark S King www.myfabulousdisease.com

This live stream was brought to you by HIV Justice Network www.hivjustice.net

Directed and produced by Nicholas Feustel

Running order (click on the time cues to jump there):

1) Pre-show with Mark S King and guests 00:08

2) Plenary 11:06 3)

After show 1:30:01

Introduced by Rebecca Wang Positive Women’s network – USA CALIFORNIA Facilitated by Kenyon Farrow The Body NEW YORK With Waheedah Shabazz-El Positive Women’s Network – USA PENNSYLVANIA Robert Suttle SERO Project NEW YORK Marco Castro-Bojorquez US PLHIV Caucus and HIVenas Abiertas CALIFORNIA Maxx Boykin Black AIDS Institute CALIFORNIA Naina Khanna Positive Women’s Network – USA CALIFORNIA Toni-Michelle Williams Racial Justice Action center GEORGIA

Side show interviews with Stacy Jennings BULI participant SOUTH CAROLINA and Barb Cardell Colorado Mod Squad COLORADO

Livestream: HIV IS NOT A CRIME III National Training Academy: Plenary 2 – Meaningful Involvement of People with HIV (MIPA), Leadership and Accountability (HJN, 2018)

HIV IS NOT A CRIME III National Training Academy Live from the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 4 June 2018

Live stream hosted by Mark S King www.myfabulousdisease.com

This live stream was brought to you by HIV Justice Network www.hivjustice.net

Directed and produced by Nicholas Feustel

Running order (click on the time cues to jump there):

1) Pre-show with Mark S. King and guests 00:07

2) Plenary 12:08

3) After show 1:33:10

Facilitated by Naina Khanna Positive Women’s Network – USA CALIFORNIA With Andrew Spieldenner US PLHIV Caucus CALIFORNIA Barb Cardell Colorado Mod Squad COLORADO Arianna Lint Arianna’s Center FLORIDA Malcom Reid THRIVE SS GEORGIA

Side show interviews with Maxx Boykin Black AIDS Institute CALIFORNIA Waheedah Shabazz-El Positive Women’s Network – USA PENNSYLVANIA Laurel Sprague Activist MICHIGAN Laela Wilding Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation CALIFORNIA

Livestream: HIV IS NOT A CRIME III National Training Academy: Plenary 1b – North Carolina and State Legislators (HJN, 2018)

HIV IS NOT A CRIME III National Training Academy Live from the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 4 June 2018 Running order (click on the time cues to jump there):

Live stream hosted by Mark S King www.myfabulousdisease.com

This live stream was brought to you by HIV Justice Network

Directed and produced by Nicholas Feustel

1) Pre-show with Mark S King and guests 00:06

2) Part 1: North Carolina 04:28

3) Intermission show 41:09

4) Part 2: State legislators 43:45

5) After show 1:20:47

Part 1: Modernizing North Carolina’s HIV Criminal Law Facilitated by Christina Adeleke North Carolina AIDS Action Network NORTH CAROLINA With Kara McGee Duke University NORTH CAROLINA Billy Willis WECAHN NORTH CAROLINA Terl Gleason AIDS Healthcare Foundation NORTH CAROLINA Lee Storrow North Carolina AIDS Action Network NORTH CAROLINA Q&A facilitated by Allison Nichol SERO Project WASHINGTON DC

Part 2: Behind the Scenes with State Legislators Facilitated by Sean Strub SERO Project PENNSYLVANIA With State Rep. John McCrostie State Representative IDAHO State Rep. Jon Hoadley State Representative MICHIGAN Jeanette Mott Empower Missouri MISSOURI

Side show interviews with Venita Ray Southern AIDS Coalition TEXAS and Edwin J Bernard HIV Justice Network UK

Livestream: HIV IS NOT A CRIME III National Training Academy: Plenary 1a – Survivors and California (HJN, 2018)

HIV IS NOT A CRIME III National Training Academy Live from the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 4 June 2018

Live stream hosted by Mark S King www.myfabulousdisease.com

This live stream was brought to you by HIV Justice Network

Directed and produced by Nicholas Feustel

Running order (click on the time cues to jump there):

1) Pre-show with Mark S. King and guests 00:28

2) Introduction 08:36

3) Part 1: Survivors’ Panel 09:39

4) Intermission show 1:11:09

5) Part 2: Victory in California 1:13:14

6) After show 2:02:20

Introduction by Allison Nichol SERO Project WASHINGTON DC

Part 1: Criminalization Survivors’ Panel Facilitated by Robert Suttle SERO Projekt NEW YORK With Ariel Sabillon Student FLORIDA Monique Howell HIV criminalization survivor SOUTH CAROLINA Ken Pinkela SERO Project NEW YORK Kerry Thomas SERO Project IDAHO

Part 2: Forging the Path to Victory in California Facilitated by Naina Khanna Positive Women’s Network – USA CALIFORNIA With Craig Pulsipher APLA CALIFORNIA Arneta Rogers Positive Women’s Network – USA CALIFORNIA Scott Scholtes Lambda Legal ILLINOIS

Side show interviews with Edwin J Bernard HIV Justice Network UK and Venita Ray Southern AIDS Coalition TEXAS 

Livestream: HIV IS NOT A CRIME III National Training Academy: Opening Session (HJN, 2018)

Live from the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, 3 June 2018

Live stream hosted by Mark S King www.myfabulousdisease.com

This live stream was brought to you by HIV Justice Network

Directed and produced by Nicholas Feustel

Running order (click on the time cues to jump there):

1) Pre-show with Mark S King and guests 00:09

2) Welcome 09:29 3) Intermission show 1:05:36

4) Thank you’s 1:09:25

5) Celebrating victories 1:11:40

6) After show 2:10:43

Facilitated by Tami Taught SERO Project IOWA With Melissa Williams Director of the Native American Indian Affairs and Commission INDIANA Carrie Foote HIV Modernization Movement INDIANA Mark Hughes HIV Modernization Movement INDIANA Sean Strub SERO Project PENNSYLVANIA Naina Khanna Positive Women’s Network – USA CALIFORNIA Waheedah Shabazz-El Positive Women’s Network – USA PENNSYLVANIA Arneta Rogers Positive Women’s Network – USA CALIFORNIA Stacy Jennings BULI participant SOUTH CAROLINA Cindy Stine SERO Project PENNSYLVANIA Robert Suttle SERO Project NEW YORK Edwin J Bernard HIV Justice Network UK Ken Pinkela SERO Project NEW YORK

US: Survivor's story shows how Michigan's criminalisation laws impact HIV positive individuals

A Hookup Gone Wrong: Michigan’s HIV Criminalization Negatively Affects Michiganders

Jeremy Merithew’s life took a turn for the worse when what was intended to be a casual hookup earned him a brush with discrimination and substantial jail time. That’s because He was HIV-positive and his hookup, Dwayne Cook claimed Merithew failed to disclose his status before the two engaged in oral and anal sex. That’s a four-year felony in Michigan and has been since 1989.

His mother, Teresa Perrin, has been by his side for the whole fight.

“It’s been a heartbreaking experience in what he’s gone through,” she said, “and not being able to get him out of it, and the way he was treated and the unfairness of it all.”

Both Perrin and Merithew were in Lansing last week to lobby lawmakers to change Michigan’s law. Iowa, California and Illinois have all modernized their laws in recent years.

Matthew Craig, coalition director for the Michigan Coalition for HIV Health and Safety, said having Merithew accompany the group in lobbying efforts to reform and modernize Michigan’s laws is important.

“As far as when it comes to a personal story and talking about Michigan’s HIV criminalization laws affect Michiganders, I think it’s important that we have people who have been affected badly by this law be able to speak to their own experiences,” he said. “Basically, our ability to translate to lawmakers and let them know that this is something we need them to change.”

Craig’s coalition is working with lawmakers to provide them basic HIV education while lobbying for the introduction of legislation to modernize the law to require prosecutors to prove the accused had an intent to transmit the virus, as well as engaged in behavior demonstrated to transmit it. Because right now, intent doesn’t have to proven for the accused to be sentenced.

Miscommunication

In August of 2012, Merithew was finishing his studies to become a nurse. He lived in a Grand Rapids suburb, and used an app get into contact with Cook.

“Then, two days after, the police came to my door,” Merithew said. “Knocking on the door, asking all sorts of personal questions. I answered them truthfully. I willingly went down to the police station with this guy so that they could interrogate me. They basically chained me to the floor and,they sat there and interviewed me for over an hour or whatever after they let me sit there for a while and stew … I think it was the next day they came back and arrested me.”

Evidence used at trial, however, raised questions as to whether or not there was a disclosure of Merithew’s positive status. Merithew said that he was asked questions before the hookup via email and answered “yes” to each.

His accuser, Cook, had his own issues. At the time of the hookup he was a married man with a pregnant wife who worked to raise money for a local housing agency. Ironically, that agency also administered federal money for the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program.

Despite having been on medications for years and maintaining an undetectable viral load, Merithew’s attorney, Christine Yared, was prevented by Kent County Circuit Court Judge James Redford from presenting any scientific evidence that he was incapable of transmitting the virus.

It still grinds now 37-year-old Merithew to this day.

“I mean, it’s just we live in the 21st century,” he said. “Science should be taken into account when it comes to medical-type laws.”

Publicly Outed

Before Merithew had a chance to confront his accuser in court, the local Fox News affiliate, Fox 17, revealed he had created an online profile on the same hookup app in violation of his bond terms. Judge Redford revoked Merithew’s bond and he was sent to jail.

“Yeah, there was some guy online actually (who) turned me into Fox 17 news,” he said. “And it was kind of creepy when my lawyer read after the fact, you know, who this guy was and basically said, ‘Yeah, I’ve known him for years, I’ve been following him for years.’”

And the media scrutiny didn’t stop there.

“That would be because Fox 17 news actually published my online profile picture, which was a full nude picture, on the 6 o’clock news,” he said. “So yes. The inmates were aware of what was going on. But in their minds, they saw it as I was intentionally trying to infect people, and so it’s just called perception. The general public’s idea of what HIV is, or what the criminal statute actually is.”

Stigma Surfaces

While in jail, Merithew would soon face more allegations promoted by the television station. He would stand accused of trying to infect other inmates with food.

“I was getting sandwiches with my meds and I don’t like bologna, so I was giving them away instead of throwing them in the garbage. This one guy who everybody was calling ‘Crackhead Joe,’ he would always go around saying, ‘I’m not a crack head,’ and, bang, he would hit his arm like that,” Merithew slapped his arm to indicate shooting up drugs. “He asked me, ‘Why are you giving these sandwiches to so-and-so?’ And I’m like, ‘Well do you want extra mayonnaise on it too?’ Just kind of getting him to go away, because he’s just being annoying. So he went around telling all the guys that I was trying to infect everybody by ejaculating on the sandwiches.”

According to Merithew, that attempt at getting his fellow inmate to leave him alone escalated unexpectedly and severely when others learned of his comment.

“The Bible-thumper fanatic came up to me that day and he tried to talk to me, but I was watching the news so I kind of just brushed him off,” Merithew said. “So he went and told the CO about the incident, and then he came and talked to me and they locked me in segregation.”

His attorney called the incident a “jailhouse joke,” but Judge Redford, according an MLive report, said the incident was like yelling fire in a crowded theater.

Prosecutors, under the direction of then Kent County Prosecutor William Forsyth, tried to get Merithew to plead guilty to one count of violating the state’s HIV disclosure law. When he refused, he received another count, this one for the oral sex he had had, as well as a felony charge of using a computer to commit a crime. He was found guilty on all three counts in May 2013, and in June of that year he was sentenced to a minimum of five years in prison.

A Tarnished Record

The stigma around his virus followed Merithew past that incident. He was sent to prison in Jackson for processing after his sentence and was kept in solitary confinement for 45 days. Then, despite having a low security risk, he was sent to a maximum security facility – Ionia, Michigan.

“Basically, Kent County contacted the prison and said that I was gonna come to the prison and intentionally try to infect everybody with HIV,” he said. “So that was the reason that they locked me up,” Merithew said. “And, during that time, I was speaking to a psychologist that was there in the seg. unit. Basically, he told me that they were saying I was vindictive, and all of this other horrible stuff. He said (that) he didn’t see that, but they kept me there in segregation until they shipped me out.”

After time in Ionia, he was transferred to the prison in Adrian — a lower-security facility. Still, his HIV status traveled with him, and it reared its head while he was taking classes to learn how to work in food service. Someone asked Merithew to do the dishes although he wasn’t yet officially qualified to do so.

“And all the guys back there in the kitchen started throwing a fit, so I went back and the next day I didn’t have a call out for the culinary arts class,” he said. “So, I basically sent — they call them kites — a note to the instructor of the class asking him why I was taken out of this.”

Merithew said that the head of the vocational programs in the Michigan Department of Corrections, or MDOC, refused him based on his history in correctional institutions.

Misinformation and Revised Rules

The MDOC has a history of rejecting HIV-positive inmates from accessing jobs in food service.

“A prison holds about 1,000 (to) 1,200 people and as those 1,000 prisoners go through for breakfast, lunch and dinner, prisoners are scooping that food onto their trays,” said MDOC’s spokesman Russ Marlan in a 2009 statement to Between The Lines. “So if a prisoner was HIV-positive and sneezed onto a food item and then a prisoner ate that food item and that prisoner had a lesion in their mouth, they could contract the disease.”

Marlan also used the concept of a prisoner bleeding on food as a potential for the spread of the virus.

“Say a prisoner cuts himself and his blood falls on a radish and somebody eats that radish and that he’s got an open lesion in his mouth. There’s a potential for him to contract that disease,” Marlan said. “As responsible corrections professionals dedicated to running a safe and secure prison system, we made the decision not to allow them (prisoners with HIV) to work in that area of prison operations.”

The department lifted that ban a year later, in 2010.

Merithew was paroled earlier this year, but he remains restricted. Because he was ordered to register as a sex offender, which the Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act does not require for his specific conviction, he’s prohibited from using computers and must wear an ankle monitor. Those restrictions even prevent him from enrolling in online classes.

Merithew’s accuser, Cook, declined to comment on this story.

Published on Pride Source on April 25, 2018

HIV Criminalization in Canada: Testimonials (Alexander McClelland / Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, 2018)

Sean Strub Harvard Lecture: HIV Criminalization: Creating a Viral Underclass in the Law (US, 2018)

HLS Lambda hosted this lecture on HIV stigma, criminalization, and activism.

Sean Strub is a longtime HIV survivor, founder of POZ magazine, director of the Sero Project, and an advocate for people living with HIV. He is the author of Body Counts: A Memoir of Politics, AIDS, Sex, and Survival. His short film, HIV Is Not a Crime, introduced the problem of HIV criminalization to audiences worldwide. A longtime activist, Strub was the first openly HIV-positive person to run for the U.S. Congress. He has also produced the off-Broadway hit The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me, and served as a member of the board of the Global Network of People Living with HIV.

For more information, visit our website at: petrieflom.law.harvard.edu/events/details/hiv-criminalization-lambda