US: Help stop criminalisation laws in Pennsylvania by signing petition to express your opposition to Bills proposing to expand the current laws criminalising people living with HIV

HIV Is a Medical Condition, Not a Crime. STOP HIV Criminalization Laws in Pennsylvania!

Target: PA Rep. Dom Costa and PA House Judiciary Committee

Dear Pennsylvania Community Members, Colleagues & Supporters:

We, the Positive Women’s Network-USA Pennsylvania Chapter, oppose all forms of criminalization against people living with HIV in our communities, including those who are currently incarcerated.

Two current PA House Bills, HB 305 & 306, if passed, will expand the current laws criminalizing people living with HIV or suspected of having HIV within the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

Please sign this petition to express your opposition to PA House Bills 305 & 306.

To: PA Rep. Dom Costa and PA House Judiciary Committee

From: [Your Name]

Pennsylvania House Bills PA-HB 305 and PA-HB 306, if passed, will expand the current laws criminalizing people living with HIV or suspected of having HIV within the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. HIV is a medical condition, not a crime. Laws criminalizing perceived HIV exposure are extremely damaging to efforts at prevention and treatment, are stigmatizing to people living with HIV, and violate the human rights of people living with HIV.

Our communities stand united as Pennsylvanians in our view that criminalization of people living with HIV is wrong. We, the Positive Women’s Network-USA Pennsylvania Chapter and allies, oppose all forms of criminalization against people living with HIV in our communities, including those who are currently incarcerated.

We urge you to reject HB 305 and HB 306.

US: Law review article examines Louisiana's HIV-specific law and its discriminatory nature

This law review article summarizes the science of HIV and the historical background of HIV and HIV-related stigmas in the United States (“U.S.”). It delves into statistics about HIV diagnoses in the U.S. and Louisiana, and the disproportionate impact that HIV has on southern communities and communities of color. It then examines Louisiana’s HIV-specific law, introduced in 1987 and not updated since 1993, identifies the ineffectiveness and discriminatory nature of the law, how it is contrary to public health efforts, and calls for science and logic based revisions to it.  It also reviews several Louisiana HIV criminal cases.  Finally, the article acknowledges that solely changing the HIV criminal statute will not remove the stigma associated with HIV, and proposes mandatory public health training for law enforcement officers and prosecutors to combat implicit biases and HIV stigma.

The full article is availaible here

Norway: Activists concerned about latest proposals to change Norway's HIV law

Critical to changes in section 237 of the Criminal Code

Reidar Engesbak, April 26, 2017

(Google translation from, original post below)

The government last week presented a proposal – Prop. 120 L (2016–2017) – for penalties on transmission of infection and endangered spread of infection.

The Ministry of Justice’s submitted to the Storting a proposal for amendments to section 237 of the Criminal Code, which mainly follows the recommendations of the statutory committee that were appointed on the basis of criticism of the current criminal law regulation.

The law committee resulted in the NOU “About Love and Cooling Tower – Criminal Justice in Major Infectious Diseases.”

“I am pleased that we now propose a regulatory framework that addresses the medical development,” said Per-Willy Amundsen, Deputy Minister of Justice, in a press release.

The proposal entails, among other things, clarification that criminal liability is not imposed when appropriate contingency measures have been observed. This includes, among other things, successful medical treatment of HIV infection. Emphasis has been placed on the fact that the knowledge base on the treatment of HIV infection has changed in recent years and that the infection risk from well-treated HIV-positive individuals must be considered minimal.

The government also proposes a change in the Criminal Procedure Act, which allows the police to routinely investigate the infectious status of persons suspected of rape or other serious sexual assault.

“The proposal means that we can be clarified faster than today if the victims have been exposed to a risk of infection. It is important for the government to strengthen the offender’s position in criminal matters, and this change will contribute to that, “Amundsen said in the press release.

Contrary to UNAIDS ‘recommendations

The user organization New Plus – Hivpositives National Association is not so excited. The proposals, according to New Plus’s view, involve a number of things that will worsen the legal situation of those living with HIV.

“What is positive with the bill is that it is suggested that you can not prosecute people who have been negligent and that it is now necessary to commit gross negligence in order to be prosecuted,” said Kim Fangen, Managing Director of New Plus.

New Plus nevertheless believes that the boundary is still unclear. “It is still not the case that actual transmission of infection will be required in order to be punished. Consequently, the provision will still violate UNAIDS ‘recommendations, which state that punishment can only be used where there is a person who is aware that he or she has HIV or with the knowledge and willingness to infect another and infection is actually transmitted.

A little impractical

The proposition is for people to be treated for successful treatment to be exempted from punishment. It’s a suggestion New Plus applaudes. “However, the proposal implies that one can only be exempted from punishment after successful treatment and has been with his partner for prior infection prevention guidance from healthcare professionals, as well as the consent of the partner after this. This scheme applies today only to persons living in marriage or marriage-like relationships. The Ministry therefore wishes to extend the personal circle that will be covered in principle, it will apply to all,” said Fangen to Blikk Nett.

New Plus believes the scheme is impractical. “We can hardly see for ourselves that you want to bring a man for two weeks to the GP to get such consent. It will soon become most relevant for those who have been together for so long that one will nevertheless be covered by today’s wording about marital-like relationships. In any event, this means that an obligation to inform sexual partners is forced for persons who are nevertheless not infectious. People who are on successful treatment will not be able to transfer infection to others, says Fangen, and refers to statements by Professor Jens Lundgren at Rigshospitalet in Denmark.

“When you know at the same time how little knowledge exists in the society about HIV, this means that you can quickly find yourself in a very vulnerable situation to those you want to have sex with, without even jeopardizing the other.

Increased penalty frame

The Ministry of Justice’s proposal also wishes to raise the penalty frame for gross negligence from 3 to 6 years through a new provision in the Act. “This is very serious because it sends a signal about the severity of these actions and could make it even more stigmatizing to live with HIV,” Kim Fangen points out.

“We know that most infections occur when the person who has the virus does not even know that they are infected. These penalties will continue to hit people who have, in their ignorance, exposed others to infectious persons and people who can not actually infect anyone, but because they have not been open about status and conducted infectious guidance can be punished nevertheless. This is believed to mean that fewer will be open about HIV status and that people living with HIV will feel further stigmatized, “said Kim Fangen to Blikk Nett.

“We therefore see no reason to cheer over this and will continue the fight to completely decriminalize HIV.

Kritisk til endringer i Straffeloven § 237

Regjeringen la forrige uke fram et forslag til straffebestemmelser om smitteoverføring og allmennfarlig smittespredning.

Justisdepartementets proposisjon (Prop.120L) til Stortinget et forslag til endringer i Straffelovens paragraf 237, som i hovedsak følger opp anbefalingene til lovutvalget som ble oppnevnt på bakgrunn av kritikk mot den gjeldende strafferettslige reguleringen.

Lovutvalget resulterte i NOU-en «Om kjærlighet og kjøletårn — Strafferettslige spørsmål ved alvorlige smittsomme sykdommer.»

– Jeg er fornøyd med at vi nå foreslår et regelverk som tar opp i seg den medisinske utviklingen, sa justis- og beredskapsminister Per-Willy Amundsen (FrP) i en pressemelding.

Forslaget innebærer blant annet en klargjøring av at straffeansvar ikke pådras når forsvarlige smitteverntiltak er iakttatt. Dette omfatter blant annet vellykket medisinsk behandling av hivsmitte. Det er lagt vekt på at kunnskapsgrunnlaget om behandling av hivsmitte har endret seg de siste årene, og at smitterisikoen fra velbehandlede hivpositive personer må anses som minimal.

Regjeringen foreslår også en endring i straffeprosessloven som åpner for at politiet rutinemessig kan undersøke smittestatusen til personer som er mistenkt for voldtekt eller andre alvorlige seksuelle overgrep.

– Forslaget innebærer at vi raskere enn i dag kan få avklart om fornærmede har blitt utsatt for smittefare. Det er viktig for regjeringen å styrke fornærmedes stilling i straffesaker, og denne endringen vil bidra til det, sa Amundsen i pressemeldingen.

Strider mot UNAIDS’ anbefalinger

Brukerorganisasjonen Nye Pluss – Hivpositives landsforening er ikke så begeistret. Forslagene innebærer etter Nye Pluss sitt syn en rekke ting som vil forverre den juridiske situasjonen for de som lever med hiv.

– Det som er positivt med proposisjonen, er at det foreslås at man ikke kan straffeforfølge personer som bare har vært uaktsomme, og at det skal nå kreves grov uaktsomhet for å kunne straffeforfølges, sier Kim Fangen, daglig leder i Nye Pluss.

Nye Pluss mener likevel at grensegangen fortsatt er uklar.

– Det er fortsatt ikke slik at faktisk smitteoverføring vil kreves for at man skal kunne straffes. Følgelig vil bestemmelsen fortsatt stride mot UNAIDS’ anbefalinger, som statuerer at straff bare kan brukes der det er snakk om at en person enten er klar over at hen har hiv, eller med viten og vilje går inn for å smitte en annen og smitte faktisk overføres.

Lite praktisk

Proposisjonen går inn for at personer på vellykket behandling skal fritas fra straff. Det er et forslag Nye Pluss applauderer.

– Forslaget innebærer dog at man bare kan fritas fra straff om man er på vellykket behandling og har vært med sin partner til forutgående smittevernveiledning hos helsepersonell, samt fått samtykke fra partneren etter dette. Denne ordningen gjelder i dag bare for personer som lever i ekteskap eller ekteskapslignende forhold. Departementet ønsker dermed å utvide personkretsen som vil omfattes til at den i prinsippet vil gjelde alle, sier Fangen til Blikk Nett.

Nye Pluss mener ordningen er lite praktisk.

– Vi kan vanskelig se for oss at man vil ta med seg en man har datet i to uker til fastlegen for å få et slikt samtykke. Det blir fort mest aktuelt for de som har vært sammen såpass lenge at man uansett vil dekkes av dagens ordlyd om ekteskapslignende forhold. Uansett betyr dette at man tvinger frem en informasjonsplikt overfor seksualpartnere for personer som uansett ikke er smittefarlige. Personer som er på vellykket behandling vil ikke være i stand til å overføre smitte til andre, sier Fangen og viser til uttalelser fra professor Jens Lundgren ved Rigshospitalet i Danmark.

– Når man samtidig vet hvor lite kunnskap som finnes i samfunnet om hiv, gjør dette at man fort setter seg i en veldig sårbar situasjon overfor de man vil ha sex med, uten at man selv utgjør noen fare for den andre.

Økt strafferamme

Justisdepartementets proposisjon ønsker i tillegg å heve strafferammen for grov uaktsomhet fra 3 til 6 år gjennom en ny bestemmelse i loven.

– Dette er svært alvorlig fordi det sender et signal om alvorlighetsgraden av disse handlingene og vil kunne gjøre det ytterligere stigmatiserende å leve med hiv, påpeker Kim Fangen.

– Vi vet at de fleste smitteoverføringer skjer der personen som har viruset ikke selv vet at hen er smittet. Disse straffebestemmelsene vil forsette å ramme personer som i sin uvitenhet har utsatt andre for smittefare og personer som i realiteten ikke kan smitte noen, men som fordi de ikke har vært åpne om status og gjennomført smitteveiledning vil kunne straffeforfølges likevel. Dette tror vi vil medføre at færre vil være åpne om hivstatus og at personer som lever med hiv vil føle seg ytterligere stigmatisert, sier Kim Fangen til Blikk Nett.

– Vi ser dermed ingen grunn til å juble over dette og vil fortsette kampen for å avkriminalisere hiv fullstendig.

[Update]Mexico: Legislation to criminalise HIV transmission withdrawn in San Luis Potosi State Congress

A House Representative withdraws opinion/ruling that would criminalize HIV transmission in San Luis Potosi

The opinion/ruling with draft decree that was intended to add the crime of risk of contagion to the penal criminal code of the State of San Luis Potosi was withdraw The document established penalties and sanctions to whom or who put someone else at risk of contagion of  “a venereal disease or other serious infective period”.

A Member of San Luis Potosí friends fight against AIDS  /, Andrés Costilla Castro denounced than this initiative was an attempt against the dignity  of PLHIV and promoted stigma towards PLHIV in San Luis Potosí and  because of that, they demanded for such decree to be eliminated.

The document was presented by Esther Angelica Martinez Cardenas of the PRI and approved by justice committees; Health and Social Welfare.

Costilla Castro reiterated that this initiative would put people with HIV under a status of potential criminals, and that it opposed their dignity as persons, attempting to take away human rights and stigmatising them because of a health condition.

The opinion/ruling read as follows:

The offence of contagion is committed if a person puts someone in danger of contagion, knowing they are suffering from a venereal disease or other serious illness during an infectious period, putting in danger of contagion the health of another person, by sexual intercourse, or other transmissible method; shall be sentenced from one month to three years in prison, and up to forty days of the value of the unit of measurement and valid update. If the condition or disease was incurable, a sentence of six months to five years in prison shall be imposed. In  the case of spouses, boyfriends or concubines, only the case could proceed following a complaint by the offended party.

The opinion/ruling was removed during the session on Thursday to be analyzed again by the committees involved in the issue.

Diputada retira dictamen para penalizar el contagio de VIH en SLP

Fue retirado el dictamen con proyecto de decreto que planteaba  la adición del delito de Peligro de Contagio al Código Penal del Estado de San Luis Potosí. El documento establecía penas y sanciones a quien o quienes pongan a otra persona en riesgo del contagio de “una enfermedad venérea u otra grave en período infectante”.

Por su parte el integrante de la organización Amigos Potosinos en Lucha Contra el Sida, Andrés Costilla Castro denunció que esta iniciativa  atenta contra la dignidad y promueve el estigma hacia las personas con VIH en San Luis Potosí por lo que solicitaron fuera bajado este dictamen.

El documento, fue presentado por la priista Esther Angélica Martínez Cárdenas y aprobado por las Comisiones de Justicia; y Salud y Asistencia Social.

Costilla Castro reiteró que esta iniciativa colocaría a las personas con VIH bajo un estatus de posibles criminales, contraviniendo a su dignidad como personas, a tentando a sus derechos humanos y estigmatizándolos por su condición de salud,

El dictamen marcaba lo siguiente:

Comete el delito de peligro de contagio quien, a sabiendas de que padece una enfermedad venérea u otra grave en período infectante, ponga en peligro de contagio la salud de otra persona, por relaciones sexuales, u otro medio transmisible; será sancionado de un mes a tres años de prisión, y hasta cuarenta días del valor de la unidad de medida y actualización vigente

Si la enfermedad padecida fuera incurable se impondrá la pena de seis meses a cinco años de prisión. Cuando se trate de cónyuges, concubinarios o concubinas, sólo podrá procederse por querella de parte ofendida

El dictamen fue retirado durante la sesión de este jueves para ser analizado nuevamente por las comisiones involucradas en el tema.

Published in La Orquesta on March 17, 2017


First article published on March 16, 2017 (English google translation, scroll down for Spanish article)

Congress a step away from criminalising HIV transmission…Again

The Secretary of health, international treaties and activists are against the proposal.

By María José Puente

This Thursday, in a plenary session, the State Congress will vote on a draft decree that adds the crime of Danger of Contagion to the Penal Code of the State of San Luis Potosí. If approved, the new legislation establishes penalties and sanctions to those who put someone else at risk of contagion of “a venereal or other serious illness when being infectious.”

The document, already approved by the Justice Commissions; and Health and Social Services , was presented to the Congress by Esther Angélica Martínez Cárdenas, from the PRI group. There, the deputy says that it is necessary for the Potosino penal code to adopt the federal standard, where the crime is mentioned and allows for a penalty of up to 5 years in prison, equal to the one raised in the State decision.

The text reads:

“The offense of contagion is committed by a person who, knowing that he suffers from a venereal or other serious illness in an infectious period, endangers the health of another person by sexual intercourse or other transmissible means; Will be sanctioned from one month to three years in prison, and up to forty days of the value of the current unit of measurement and update.

If the illness suffered is incurable, a sentence of six months to five years’ imprisonment shall be imposed. In the case of spouses, or concubines, the case may only proceed following a complaint by the offended party “.

For the organizations that defend the rights of the LGBT population and the Ministry of Health at the national and even state level, this homologation is not only anachronistic, but it  also puts at risk the population suffering from ilnesses such as those mentioned there and particularly those who have been or may be diagnosed with HIV or AIDS.


In October of 2016, Juan Manuel Carreras, governor of San Luis; In conjunction with the Women’s Institute, attempted a similar legislative move, presenting a package of initiatives aimed at preventing violence against women.

The argument, said in an interview Jeús Paul Ibarra Collazo , head of Red Diversificadores Sociale was directed in such a way because the rate of contagion of women by way of their spouses could increase because part of the male population, openly heterosexual, actually had sexual relations with other homosexual men, contracted the disease and then, continued at the same time with their female partner, which resulted in her being infected as well.

Ibarra Collazo recognizes that the male homosexual population leads the statistics of HIV or AIDS, because by keeping alive what he calls internalized homophobia, the spread of the disease through sexual contact between men increases the number of cases.

Regardless of this, the Ministry of Health sent a press release specifically addressed to Juan Manuel Carreras, who asked him to take a second look at the initiative because, according to international treaties to which Mexico is a signatory, the measure that the governor and the IMES intended to boost is useless.

The National Center for Prevention and Control of HIV / AIDS of the Ministry of Health calls for an analysis of this proposal in the framework of international and national recommendations in this area, since criminalization or criminalization of people with HIV is not a public policy that helps to reduce and control the epidemic, quite the contrary, it has been shown that the establishment of restrictions, indications or penalties for people with HIV does not prevent them from spreading the virus and there is little evidence that Criminal sanctions will ‘rehabilitate’ a person so as to avoid future risk behavior of HIV transmission, “the statement said.

After reception of the document and after a dialogue between the state agencies, Red Diversificadores Sociales and the pressure of the group Amigos Potosinos in Fight against Aids, the initiative seemed to have been withdrawn; However, this March 16, again and after already having been approved by the aforementioned committees, the article will be voted on by the 27 deputies that make up the Congress, without it being clear whether Congresswoman Esther Angélica Martínez Cárdenas is aware or not of the previous initiative.


  Although the Ministry of Health points out that “imposing penalties can only be justified in case of conduct that is legally condemnable, so that criminal law based on this objective can only legitimately be applied to a subset of cases of HIV transmission” it also highlights that “this does not have anything to do with the primary goal of preventing HIV transmission. “

This can also be seen as presented by APELCS : “It is very difficult to determine causality, deceit, intentionality and various factors involved in the transmission of HIV”, and also, as stated by Paul Ibarra, and reaffirmed by the Ministry of Health, establishing punitive measures for the contagion of HIV or any other disease could inhibit the will of the key subjects to undergo the screening tests that finally have proven to be a palliative way to avoid transmission.

That is, when there is a penalty for contagion, it automatically pose a warning sign on the carriers, whether men, women, children or girls, which can facilitate discrimination and stigma on a disease that, with the advance of science and effective public policies of prevention, has ceased to be a death sentence for a large part of the population.

APELCS , on the other hand, exhorts “the members of the Health Commissions; Justice and social services; In particular to Congresswoman Esther Angélica Martínez Cárdenas to reconsider the criminalization of HIV and to lower this initiative, as they would put people with HIV under the status of potential criminals, in contravention to their dignity as persons, undermining their human rights and stigmatizing them for their Health condition “.

Paul Ibarra , on the other hand, points out what seems to be obvious and that is that there is a dislocation between the powers of the state, since the return of this attempt to change the Criminal Code, denotes that the deputy who is promoting it did not take into account the antecedent in October, nor was aware of the pronouncement against by the Ministry of Health, RDS and APELCS scarcely 5 months ago.

Published in La Orquesta on March 16, 2017


Congreso, a un paso de penalizar el contagio de VIH… Otra vez

Secretaría de Salud, tratados internacionales y activistas están en contra de la propuesta.

Por María José Puente

Este jueves, en el Pleno del Congreso del Estado será votado un dictamen con proyecto de decreto que plantea la adición del delito de Peligro de Contagio al Código Penal del Estado de San Luis Potosí. De aprobarse, la nueva normativa establece penas y sanciones a quien o quienes pongan a otra persona en riesgo del contagio de “una enfermedad venérea u otra grave en período infectante”.

El documento, ya aprobado por las Comisiones de Justicia; y Salud y Asistencia Social, fue presentado en el Congreso por Esther Angélica Martínez Cárdenas, de la bancada priista. Ahí, la diputada expone que es necesario que el código penal potosino tome de molde la norma federal, donde el delito mencionado sí se contempla y establece una pena que puede llegar a los 5 años de prisión, igual que lo plantea el dictamen estatal.

Textualmente, en el dictamen se lee:

“Comete el delito de peligro de contagio quien, a sabiendas de que padece una enfermedad venérea u otra grave en período infectante, ponga en peligro de contagio la salud de otra persona, por relaciones sexuales, u otro medio transmisible; será sancionado de un mes a tres años de prisión, y hasta cuarenta días del valor de la unidad de medida y actualización vigente.

Si la enfermedad padecida fuera incurable se impondrá la pena de seis meses a cinco años de prisión. Cuando se trate de cónyuges, concubinarios o concubinas, sólo podrá procederse por querella de parte ofendida”.

Para las organizaciones de defensa de los derechos de la población LGBT y la propia Secretaría de Salud a nivel nacional y hasta estatal, dicha homologación es no solo anacrónica, sino que pone en riesgo a la población portadora de enfermedades como las que ahí se señalan y particularmente a quienes han sido diagnosticados o podrían serlo con VIH o Sida.


En octubre de 2016, Juan Manuel Carreras, gobernador de San Luis; en conjunto con el Instituto de las Mujeres intentó una movida legislativa similar, presentando un paquete de iniciativas que tenían como objetivo prevenir la violencia contra las mujeres.

El argumento, dice en entrevista Jeús Paul Ibarra Collazo, titular de Red Diversificadores Sociales; se dirigía en el sentido de que el índice de contagio de mujeres por la vía de sus cónyuges podría ir en aumento porque parte de la población masculina, abiertamente heterosexual, en realidad mantiene relaciones sexuales con otros hombres homosexuales, contrae la enfermedad y luego, al continuar con su pareja mujer, ella también resultaba contagiada.

Ibarra Collazo reconoce que la población homosexual masculina lidera la estadística de contagio de VIH o Sida, pues al mantenerse vivo lo que él llama homofobia interiorizada, el contagio y diseminación de la enfermedad por contacto sexual entre hombres incrementa el número de casos.

Independientemente de ello, la Secretaría de Salud envió un comunicado de prensa específicamente dirigido a Juan Manuel Carreras, a quien le pidió echar un segundo vistazo sobre la iniciativa pues, según tratados internacionales a los que México está suscrito, la medida que el gobernador y el IMES pretendían impulsar es inservible.

El Centro Nacional para la Prevención y Control del VIH/Sida de la Secretaría de Salud hace un llamado para que se analice esta propuesta en el marco de las recomendaciones internacionales y nacionales en la materia, ya que la penalización o criminalización de las personas con VIH no es una política pública que ayude a la disminución y el control de la epidemia, muy por el contrario está demostrado que el establecimiento de restricciones, señalamientos o penas a personas con VIH no impide que propague el virus y existe poca evidencia de que las sanciones penales ‘rehabilitarán’ a una persona de modo que evite un comportamiento futuro de riesgo de transmisión del VIH” sentencia el comunicado.

Recibido el documento y tras un diálogo entre las dependencias estatales, Red Diversificadores Sociales y la presión del grupo Amigos Potosinos en Lucha contra el Sida, la iniciativa parece haber sido retirada; sin embargo, este 16 de marzo, nuevamente y ya aprobado incluso por las comisiones mencionadas, el dictamen será votado por los 27 diputados que integran el Congreso, sin que quede claro si la diputada Esther Angélica Martínez Cárdenas tiene conocimiento de la iniciativa anterior.


 Aunque la Secretaría de Salud apunta que “imponer penas solo puede justificarse en conductas que sean jurídicamente condenables, de modo que el derecho penal basado en este objetivo solo puede aplicarse legítimamente a un subconjunto de casos de transmisión del VIH” también remata que “esto no tiene nada que ver con el objetivo principal de prevenir la transmisión del VIH”.

Eso puede también verse como lo plantea APELCS: “Es muy difícil determinar la causalidad, el dolo, la intencionalidad ya que intervienen diversos factores en la trasmisión del VIH” además, como también secunda Paul Ibarra y reafirma la Secretaría de Salud, establecer medidas punitivas por el contagio de VIH o cualquier otra enfermedad podría inhibir la voluntad de los sujetos clave para someterse a las pruebas que finalmente sí han demostrado ser un paliativo para evitar el contagio.

Es decir, que al existir una pena por el contagio, automáticamente se establece una señal de alerta sobre los sujetos portadores, sean hombres, mujeres, niños o niñas, lo que puede favorecer la discriminación y el estigma sobre una enfermedad que, con el avance de la ciencia y las políticas públicas efectivas de prevención, ha dejado de ser, para una buena parte de la población, una sentencia de muerte.

APELCS, por su parte, exhorta “a las y los integrantes de las Comisiones de Salud; Justicia y asistencia social; en particular a la Diputada Esther Angélica Martínez Cárdenas a reconsiderar la penalización del VIH y a bajar esta iniciativa, pues colocarían a las personas con VIH bajo un estatus de posibles criminales, contraviniendo a su dignidad como personas, atentando a sus derechos humanos y estigmatizándoles por su condición de salud”.

Paúl Ibarra, por otro lado, señala lo que a ojos vistas parece saltar y es que existe una desarticulación entre los poderes del estado, pues el regreso de este intento de modificación al Código Penal, denota que la diputada que la promueve no tomó en cuenta el antecedente de octubre, ni tuvo conocimiento del pronunciamiento en contra hecho por la Secretaría de Salud, RDS y APELCS hace escasos 5 meses.

Published in La Orquesta on March 17, 2017

[Update] US: Utah House Judiciary Committee approves bill making it a criminal offense to engage in consensual sexual activity without disclosing known HIV-positive status

Utah committee approves bill that increases penalties for failing to disclose HIV-positive status – Measure would also make it a crime to have consensual sex without disclosing infection.

Sexual offense convictions would carry an enhanced penalty if the perpetrator is HIV-positive under a bill approved Friday by the House Judiciary Committee.

Committee members voted 9-2 in favor of HB369, which calls for a one-step increase in charges for offenses perpetrated by individuals with HIV or AIDS.

The proposal also would make it a class A misdemeanor to engage in otherwise consensual sexual activity if people fail to disclose their HIV status to their sexual partners.

Rep. Justin Fawson, R-North Ogden, said his bill’s class A misdemeanor “nonconsensual sexual conduct” charge is comparable to a charge of reckless endangerment. And while treatment and medication can significantly minimize the risk of spreading infection, Fawson said, people still put their partners in danger by failing to disclose their status.

“There is no way to reduce the risk to zero,” he said. “There’s no way.”

Equality Utah Executive Director Troy Williams said there are already criminal enhancements in Utah code for “bodily harm,” which would cover the intentional or reckless spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

He said the state should encourage HIV-positive individuals to get tested and receive treatment and is worried that HB369 could undermine STI prevention efforts by focusing on status rather than actions.

“We should absolutely be enhancing penalties for intent and harm, but not the health status of the perpetrator,” he said. “We would want to do everything in our power to open the doors to encourage people to be tested.”

Rep. Dixon Pitcher, R-Ogden, asked Williams whether the state’s compassion for a person who is HIV-positive should outweigh the compassion for a person who is infected without warning.

“It’s unconscionable to me that somebody would have sex with somebody without disclosing what they are carrying,” Pitcher said.

But Williams said compassion is not mutually exclusive, cautioning lawmakers against taking steps that target individuals based on their health.

“It is moving us down a path of stigmatizing and criminalizing people who live with HIV,” he said.

Will Carlson, a representative for the Statewide Association of Prosecutors, said applying the law in court could be challenging, because it requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt that perpetrators were aware of their HIV-positive status.

“Proving that a defendant knew, at the time, that a sexual act occurred, may be problematic,” he said.

The committee considered several amendments to the bill, including one that would have broadened the criminal enhancement to the transition of any sexually transmitted infection. That amendment failed, and Fawson suggested that additional changes could be made when HB369 reaches the House floor.


Utah House Judiciary Committee discuss passing law that would classify HIV non-disclosure as rape

Bill Charging HIV/AIDS Patients with Rape if they Don’t Disclose Held

Legislation that criminalizes sexual situations involving HIV/AIDS sufferers who knowingly engage in sex without informing the other person was held Wednesday by the House Judiciary Committee.

HB 369 – Sexual Offenses and Statutory Nonconsent Amendments, sponsored by Representative Justin Fawson (Republican – North Ogden), amends statutory nonconsent to sexual activity to include sexual contact in situations where a person who is knowingly infected with HIV or AIDS and engages in sexual activity with a person who is unaware of their illness.

Will Carlson, representing the Statewide Association of Prosecutors, agrees with the legislation’s intent – however, he feels that it goes too far. “We join with the representative in searching out ways to prevent its spread. We appreciate the idea that the best and healthiest form of intimacy is a fully-informed intimacy,” said Carlson. “But with first-degree felonies, which is the heaviest hammer the criminal justice system can offer, this does not do what the sponsor is trying to do. This does not say if you have a crime and the offender is HIV-positive then that crime is enhanced. This says if you are HIV-positive and you are intimate, this is a crime unless you’ve disclosed your status.”

Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, called the bill “a punitive approach” that further stigmatizes those who suffer from HIV or AIDS and could actually result in a reduction in HIV testing. “Like all people, we want to see a reduction in HIV infections. We want HIV-positive members of the LGBTQ community to be tested, know their status, and to not feel stigma in disclosing their status with intimate partners,” said Williams. “This proposed legislation could actually have the opposite effect. By increasing HIV-related stigma and potential criminal consequences for knowing and sharing one’s HIV-positive status, this bill could actually discourage HIV testing and disclosure. There’s no evidence that laws targeting people living with HIV for criminal penalties actually reduce the number of new cases of HIV or improve public health in any way.”

Like the others who testified, Ron Gordon, executive director of the Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, also feels that HB 369 simply goes too far. “The question of whether that should have any kind of enhancement might be one proper for discussion, but this bill goes much further than that and takes conduct that right now would not be criminal at all and would make that a first-degree felony rape,” said Gordon. “That’s the concern that my commission has, is that it goes from being lawful under current law to first-degree felony rape. That’s a very big jump in our criminal code.”

Representative Karianne Lisonbee (Republican – Clearfield) believes the legislation is fine the way it is. “I really don’t see the problem with this bill. I think informed consent means informed consent. Whether the disease is transmitted or not, the person should inform, the person should disclose. If they don’t, it should be a crime because they are potentially infecting another person with a deadly disease. I don’t have a problem with this language.”

Representative Brian Greene (Republican – Pleasant Grove) agrees that something needs to be done but questioned going as far as labeling it as rape. “The question has been raised, shouldn’t this be criminal? Shouldn’t having sexual relations with somebody, an infected person having those relations with somebody else and not disclosing that be criminal? I think we all agree that it ought to be, but the question is should it be rape?” said Greene.

Greene also believes the statute itself needs fixing. “This is a problematic statute. It’s a poorly drafted statute, and we continue to come back to it and try to add new elements rather than fixing the statute,” said Greene. “I think [HB 369] just perpetuates the problems.” In 2015, Greene came under fire when he questioned whether engaging in sex with an unconscious person is rape in every instance while discussing legislation in the same section of code. Greene later apologized for his remarks.

Representative Brian King (Democrat – Salt Lake City) moved to hold the bill, a motion which unanimously passed. Fawson told committee members he would work on the bill and bring it back in a couple of days.

Published on Utah Political Capitol on February 22, 2017

Canada: Prosecuting HIV: Is it a crime to have sex without disclosing? Public Roundtable in Toronto – Ontario on Feb 3, 2017

Public Roundtable on February 3, 2017 – Prosecuting HIV: Is it a crime to have sex without disclosing?

Prosecuting HIV: Is it a crime to have sex without disclosing? public roundtable discussion will take place:

Friday February 3rd, 2017, from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm

Canadiana Gallery – Room 160, 14 Queen’s Park Crescent West, Toronto, Ontario

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that when HIV+ people do not disclose their status to sex partners they are committing a serious crime (often, aggravated sexual assault) if there is a realistic possibility of HIV transmission. Many HIV+ people have been prosecuted and jailed even if their sex partners did not contract HIV. Efforts are now underway to use prosecutorial guidelines and other tools to make Canada’s criminal law less punitive towards HIV+ people, and updated information on these efforts will be presented at the panel.

Roundtable Panelists will include:

  • Maureen Owino, Director, Committee for Accessible AIDS Treatment
  • Ryan Peck, Executive Director, HIV&AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO)
  • Amy Swiffen, Sociology Department, Concordia University, and Visiting Professor at the Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies
  • Chris Tatham, Sociology Department, University of Toronto

The Panel Moderator is Audrey Macklin, Director, Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies.

All are welcome to attend.

The event poster is available as a pdf on our website:


Canada: Eye-opening document on how Crown attorneys approach prosecuting HIV non-disclosure cases disclosed

Document on HIV non-disclosure prosecutions disclosed

Written by Alex RobinsonFriday, 13 January 2017

A newly disclosed document sheds some light on how Crown attorneys may have approached prosecuting HIV non-disclosure cases.

The Ministry of the Attorney General has released a document written by an assistant Crown attorney detailing her approach to prosecuting HIV non-disclosure cases.

The document discusses the admissibility of an accused person’s statements to public health as incriminating evidence — something human rights lawyers and HIV activists find troubling.

“The risk has always been that the use of an accused’s statements to public health would put a damper on HIV positive peoples’ willingness to be frank with public health, which puts their own health at risk and the population also at risk as well,” says Toronto lawyer Marcus McCann.

McCann says this approach could have a chilling effect on whether people with HIV will seek help from health professionals.

McCann obtained the document through a Freedom of Information request and subsequent years-long legal battle with the provincial government over whether the document should be disclosed.

Karen Shea, an assistant Crown attorney, wrote the document during the 2009 case of Johnson Aziga, an HIV-positive man who was convicted of murder for failing to disclose his status when he had unprotected sex with two women.

In the absence of an official set of prosecutorial guidelines for HIV non-disclosure cases, McCann first requested the document in the hope it could help discussions between the government and organizations that have been pushing the issue.

In November, the Divisional Court ordered MAG to release the document, and the provincial government decided not to appeal the decision.

The document includes a list of arguments against HIV non-disclosure criminalization and responses to them, which McCann says shows the government was aware of those critiques and had discarded them.

McCann says in the past there has been a view among HIV activists that they could push MAG to make meaningful change in the area if they could educate the ministry on current science.

“One of the things this document shows is that MAG knew full well what the concerns were with their approach and they were proceeding full steam ahead,” McCann says.

“It really is a document to my mind that is focused on prosecution at all costs and doesn’t take into consideration the kinds of situations in which a more lenient approach might be justified.”

Clare Graham, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Yasir Naqvi, says the document is not an official set of prosecutorial guidelines.

“The document is the work product of an individual Assistant Crown Attorney based on her knowledge and experience prosecuting HIV exposure and transmission cases,” she said in an email.

“The Assistant Crown Attorney prepared this document not only for her own use but also to assist her colleagues in a difficult and complex area of the law; however, this document is not a Ministry issued policy or guideline.”

In the legal proceedings concerning the document’s disclosure, MAG conceded that multiple versions of the document existed and that it had been shared on an intranet accessible to all Crown attorneys.

The document was disclosed as the Ontario Working Group on Criminal Law and HIV Exposure called for a moratorium on prosecutions in HIV non-disclosure cases, unless they involve allegations of intentional transmission, while discussions take place to develop an official set of guidelines.

The working group and its member organizations have been working for years towards the development of a set of prosecutorial guidelines.

The working group has obtained a commitment in the past from the provincial government, only to never see any guidelines materialize, Peck says.

“Unfortunately the dialogue over the past seven or more years, from our perspective, has not been meaningful,” says Ryan Peck, the executive director of the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario, who sits on the working group.

But Peck says the working group is hopeful that it will be able to engage in meaningful dialogue with Naqvi, who has been attorney general since June.

Peck says the guidelines will need to be developed to bring the prosecutions of these cases in line with up to date science and human rights principles.

The group most recently met with Naqvi at a roundtable discussion on the topic on Dec. 5.

The federal government issued its own statement on World AIDS Day in early December acknowledging the effects of the over-criminalization of HIV non-disclosure. The statement, attributed to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, committed to examining “the criminal justice system’s response to non-disclosure of HIV status,” saying this could include a “review of existing charging and prosecution practices, as well as the possible development of prosecutorial guidelines.”

Graham says MAG is committed to working with the federal government to “examine the law in this important area.”

McCann says he hopes the disclosure of the document will mean that both CLHE and MAG are starting future discussions on and equal footing.

“My hope is that Yasir Naqvi, the attorney general, and the ministry of the attorney general approach the next phase of this process with honesty and integrity and that they come open to making some changes,” he says.

“I feel like this document is part of a story and the last chapter is yet to be written.”

Russia: Lawmakers in the Altai Krai region unanimously agree to support a law to allow for mandatory HIV testing AND treatment

English version – Translation (For Russian version, please scroll down)

The Provincial Parliament’s legislative initiative will be sent to the State Duma as a draft federal law

BARNAUL, December 15. Deputies of the Legislative Assembly of the Altai Krai took the initiative to take on the federal law on compulsory treatment of people diagnosed with HIV. They decided to send a proposal to the State Duma as a session of the regional parliament adopted it, reports the press service of the Legislative Assembly.

“The Provincial Parliament will send to the State Duma a legislative initiative of the draft federal law” On Amendments to the Federal Law “On Prevention of Spread of the disease caused by HIV.” For example, citizens suffering from social diseases, which constitute a danger to others (tuberculosis), are subject to mandatory laboratory examination and medical observation or treatment and compulsory hospitalization or isolation in the manner prescribed by the law. The initiative involves the Altai Deputies to extend these norms to HIV-infected patients”, – said the press service.

They added that all 66 deputies unanimously supported the initiative to amend the Law. “The adjustment of the law is to allow professionals, as appropriate, provide forced treatment and monitoring of HIV-infected people to avoid the spread of the virus,” – explained the Legislative Assembly.

According to the press service, the medical check-up and treatment of HIV-infected people in Russia is fulfilled at the expense of the federal subsidies and intergovernmental transfers of the RF federal budget entities to ensure the procurement of antiviral drugs. “Thus, additional funding for coverage of medical observation and treatment of patients with HIV infection is not needed” – added the Legislative Assembly of the Altai Territory.

For most of the Altai Territory, the issue of HIV is relevant: according to the Regional AIDS Centre, for the past 10 years in the region, the number of people diagnosed with HIV has doubled to more over 24 thousand people. Now in the region 217 children and more than 3 thousand adults get treatment. According to official data of Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation, totally 824 thousand HIV cases are registered in Russia. The average therapy coverage nationally is about 40%.

Краевой парламент в порядке законодательной инициативы направит в Госдуму проект соответствующего федерального закона

БАРНАУЛ, 15 декабря. /Корр. ТАСС Ксения Шубина/. Депутаты Алтайского краевого Законодательного собрания выступили с инициативой принять на федеральном уровне закон о принудительном лечении людей с диагнозом ВИЧ. Решение направить такое предложение в Госдуму было принято на сессии регионального парламента, сообщили в пресс-службе Заксобрания.

“Краевой парламент направит в Госдуму в порядке законодательной инициативы проект федерального закона “О внесении изменений в Федеральный закон “О предупреждении распространения в Российской Федерации заболевания, вызываемого ВИЧ”. К примеру, граждане, страдающие социально значимыми заболеваниями, представляющими опасность для окружающих (туберкулез), в обязательном порядке подлежат лабораторному обследованию и медицинскому наблюдению или лечению и обязательной госпитализации или изоляции в порядке, установленном законодательством РФ. Инициатива алтайских депутатов предполагает распространить эти нормы и на ВИЧ-инфицированных больных”, – сказали в пресс-службе.

Там добавили, что все 66 депутатов единогласно поддержали инициативу о внесении изменений в ФЗ. “Корректировка закона должна позволить специалистам, в случае необходимости, проводить лечение и наблюдение за ВИЧ-инфицированными в принудительном порядке, чтобы избежать распространения вируса”, – пояснили в Заксобрании.

По данным пресс-службы, диспансерное наблюдение и лечение ВИЧ-инфицированных в России осуществляется за счет федеральных субсидий и межбюджетных трансфертов федерального бюджета субъектам РФ на обеспечение закупок антивирусных препаратов. “Таким образом, дополнительного финансирования на охват диспансерным наблюдением и лечением больных ВИЧ-инфекцией не потребуется”, – добавили в Заксобрании Алтайского края.

Для самого Алтайского края тема борьбы с ВИЧ актуальна: по данным регионального Центра СПИД, за последние 10 лет в регионе количество людей с выявленным диагнозом ВИЧ увеличилось в два раза – до более чем 24 тыс. человек. Сейчас в регионе получают лечение 217 детей и более 3 тыс. взрослых. По официальным данным Минздрава РФ, всего в России зарегистрировано 824 тыс. случаев ВИЧ-инфекции. Охват терапией в среднем по стране – около 40%.

Originally published in TASS

El Salvador: New law for the prevention and control of HIV includes duty to disclose HIV-status to all sexual partners

English translation ((Para artículo en español, desplácese hacia abajo)

People who are HIV positive and who want to maintain a permanent or eventual relationship with their partner, should inform them of their status as a carrier of the virus, as established by a new law in the country.

The Legislative Assembly approved in the plenary session, Wednesday of this week, the new Law on Prevention and Control of Infection caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

The regulations were described by the Atlacatl Vivo Positivo Association as “a setback” in defending the human rights of HIV positive people. In the section that refers to the duty to communicate, article 15, third paragraph of the law states that “any person who has been notified of his / her serological condition is obliged to communicate this situation to his / her partner, whether permanent or casual,”

The director of the Atlacatl Association, Odir Miranda, said that the law is criminalizing people who HIV positive “because it is forcing us to reveal that we are HIV positive; The other is that I can accuse a person and say that she infected me and I have no way to prove whether it was her or someone else “Miranda said.

He added that another disadvantage to which the new regulations exposes them is that by forcing them to say they have the virus, they are not likely to obtain housing, life insurance and hardly likely to get jobs, he explained

That aspect of the law is very serious, says Miranda, because they can not be exposed to regulations that, instead of helping to defend the human rights of HIV-positive people, will criminalize them, he said.

The Atlacatl Association criticized the fact that the body governing the regulation is the Ministry of Health, as embodied by article 3 of the new law. Miranda questions this because, according to him, The Ministry of Health is judge and part with its functions.

He added that the state portfolio, as the lead agency, will not be impartial when imposing sanctions for complaints against discrimination in the hospitals of the public network and the Salvadoran Institute of Social Security.

“There are many complaints of discrimination that we have put against hospitals and so far nothing has been done,” Miranda said.

In practice the law is nothing new, what’s more, it would better if it was repealed because it rights woudd be better, he said.

The only thing that the Public Health Commission of the Legislative Assembly did with the new legislation, then approved by the plenary, was to empower the Ministry of Health and change the name of the National Commission against AIDS (Conasida) to the National Commission Against HIV (Conavih).

According to him, the law has wanted to sell itself as a human rights approach, but it does not have it because they have left out the Ministry of Labor and Education, who are part of the main bodies in the national response to HIV.

The National HIV Commission is made up of the Ministry of Health, the Higher Public Health Council (CSSP), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Office of the Procurator for the Defense of Human Rights (PDDH), the Associations and Foundations whose objective is prevention of The Medical School, the Ministry of Social Inclusion and the National Institute of Youth.

When discussing the draft law that was approved on Wednesday, the Atlacatl Association proposed that the governing body be an institution detached from the Ministry of Health because the approach they sought was a multisectoral participation with the Attorney General’s Office, and the Supreme Court, among others.

With this framework of disadvantage, according to Miranda, they will ask the President of the Republic, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, to veto the new law because it gives a negative message to the country in response to HIV.

Miranda called the regulations a delay to what has been achieved in terms of fighting and responding to the disease. “We will target activities towards the Presidential House so that it does not sanction it,” he said. He even said that they could go to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to denounce the law.


Portadores de VIH obligados a decir su condición a su pareja sexual

La Asamblea legislativa aprobó la nueva Ley de Prevención y Control de la Infección provocada por el Virus de Inmunodeficiencia. La ley aún debe ser sancionada por el presidente de la República, Salvador Sánchez Cerén.

Las personas que se encuentren con el Virus de Inmunodeficiencia Humana (VIH) y que quieran mantener una relación permanente o eventual con su pareja, deberá informarle su condición de  portador del virus, según ha quedado establecido en una nueva ley del país.

La Asamblea Legislativa aprobó en la sesión plenaria, del miércoles de esta semana, la nueva Ley de Prevención y Control de la Infección provocada por el Virus de Inmunodeficiencia Humana.

La normativa fue calificada por la Asociación Atlacatl Vivo Positivo como “un retroceso” en la defensa de los derechos humanos de estas personas. En el apartado que se refiere al Deber de comunicar, el artículo 15 inciso tercero de la normativa establece que “toda persona que haya sido notificada de su condición serológica, está obligada a comunicarle tal situación a su pareja, ya sea permanente o eventual”, expone.

El director de la Asociación Atlacatl, Odir Miranda, aseguró que la ley está criminalizando a las personas con VIH positivo “porque nos está obligando a revelar que somos VIH positivo; lo otro es que yo puedo acusar a una persona y decir que me infectó y no tengo la manera de probar si fue ella u otra”, expuso Miranda.

Agregó que otra de las desventajas en la que los expone la nueva normativa es que al obligarlos a decir que tienen el virus, no son sujetos a obtener viviendas, un seguro de vida y difícilmente les dan empleo, explicó

Ese aspecto dentro de la ley es muy grave, dice Miranda, porque no pueden exponerse a tener una normativa que, en vez de ayudar a la defensa de los Derechos Humanos de las personas VIH positiva, va a criminalizarlos, aseguró.

La Asociación Atlacatl criticó que el ente rector de la normativa sea el Ministerio de Salud, tal como quedó plasmado en el artículo 3 de la nueva ley. Mirando cuestiona ese hecho porque, según él, el Salud es juez y parte dentro de sus funciones.

Agregó que la cartera estatal, como organismo rector, no será imparcial al momento de imponer sanciones por denuncias contra discriminación en los hospitales de la red pública y del Instituto Salvadoreño del Seguro Social.

“Existen muchas denuncias de discriminación que hemos puesto contra los hospitales y hasta ahora no se ha hecho nada”, lamentó Miranda.

Pare él, prácticamente la ley no tiene nada nuevo, es más, estaba mejor la que fue derogada porque les garantizaba mejor sus derechos, dijo.

Lo único que hizo la Comisión de Salud Pública de la Asamblea Legislativa con la nueva normativa, y aprobada por el pleno, fue darle facultades al Ministerio de Salud y cambiar el nombre de la Comisión Nacional contra el Sida (Conasida) por el de Comisión Nacional Contra el VIH (Conavih).

Según él, la ley la han querido vender con un enfoque de derechos humanos,  pero no lo tiene porque han dejado afuera al Ministerio de Trabajo y al de Educación, quienes son parte de los entes principales en la respuesta nacional contra el VIH.

La Comisión Nacional contra el VIH está conformada por el Ministerio de Salud, Consejo Superior de Salud Pública (CSSP), Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Procuraduría para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos (PDDH), las Asociaciones y Fundaciones cuyo objetivo sea la prevención de la enfermedad, Colegio Médico, la Secretaría de Inclusión Social y el Instituto Nacional de la Juventud.

Cuando se discutió el anteproyecto de la ley que se aprobó el miércoles, la Asociación Atlacatl propuso que en ente rector fuese una institución desligada del Ministerio de Salud porque el enfoque que buscaban era una participación multisectorial en donde estuviese la Fiscalía General de la República, Corte Suprema de Justicia, entre otros.

Con ese marco de desventaja, según Miranda, pedirán al presidente de la República, Salvador Sánchez Cerén, que vete la nueva ley porque da un mensaje negativo del país en la respuesta al VIH.

Miranda tildó la normativa como un retraso a lo que se había logrado en cuanto a la lucha y respuesta a la enfermedad. “Vamos hacer acciones hacia Casa Presidencial para que no la sancione”, aseguró. Incluso, dijo que podrían acudir a la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos para denunciar la normativa.


US: Idaho activists are looking to reform Idaho's HIV Criminalisation laws

Local activists are looking to reform and modernize Idaho’s code on the transfer of bodily fluid containing HIV or AIDS virus. The law was created in the 1980’s, a time when HIV and AIDS was a rising issue in the country.  In the last 10 years, 32 people have been charged under the law. Activists and health officials say scientifically its outdated.

In 1988 Idaho created a law to punish anyone HIV positive, who transferred their body fluids with intentions to expose or infect someone else. Ian Troesoyer a Registered Nurse and Epidemiologist at Southeast Idaho Public Health says,”Singling out HIV from a biological perspective it doesn’t make perfect sense. But in the 1980s when the law was created there was a lot more fear and greater lack of knowledge regarding the transmission.”

Under the code body fluids are: Semen, blood saliva, vaginal secretion, breast milk and urine. But 28 years later health experts say, “So saliva and urine, saliva in particular, they are not known to transmit HIV.” Which is why local activists in Pocatello want to modernize Idaho Code 39-608. Kevin Lish the Board Chair of All Under One Roof says, “These laws come down a lot of times to a ‘He said, she said’ situation.”

The crime carries a maximum of 15 years in prison. In the last decade 12 people across the state have been convicted including a man named Kerry Thomas. He’s serving 30 years for not telling his partner. He says in a video posted on, “I’m glad that she, three years down the road… she’s not positive.”

Health experts and activists say with an outdated law, there’s a stigma associated with the disease that could increase people’s risks. Lish says, “We have the tools to get to an HIV free generation. One of the things we need to do is update laws like this so people feel good about being tested and are getting tested when they need to.”

Activists say speaking to legislators about changing the law will take years. Educating the public is their first mission before heading to the capitol steps in Boise. On National AIDS Awareness Day, All Under One Roof will host an event on December 1st at 234 North Main Street at 7 p.m. There they will educate the public on the statue, and how they’d like to change it.

On Friday November 11, representatives will speak with Elizabeth Taylor’s granddaughter in Boise about how the Elizabeth Taylor’s AIDS Foundation can help their cause.

Published on KPVI on Nov 10, 2016