Robert Suttle: HIV Criminalization
By Robert Breining
May 16, 2012
On May 6, I spoke with Robert Suttle on POZ I AM Radio. Robert shared his experiences of being subject to HIV criminalization and how he is advocating for change. Robert Suttle was convicted under Louisiana's HIV-specific criminal statute after accepting a plea bargain and served six months in a Louisiana prison for HIV non-disclosure to a former partner, with whom he had a contentious relationship. Upon his release in January 2011, he has become engaged in anti-criminalization advocacy work.
Today he is now assistant director of The SERO Project, a new nonprofit initiative combating HIV criminalization, stigma and discrimination, promoting the empowerment of people with HIV, providing support to those charged or at risk of being prosecuted.
Prior to joining SERO in March 2012, Suttle was a case manager and prevention specialist at the Philadelphia Center, a local AIDS service organization in Shreveport, Louisiana, working with other positive young African-American men who have sex with men.
Robert is also featured in the documentary film HIV Is Not a Crime, has traveled abroad to Geneva, Switzerland to speak at the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board's meeting in December, 2011, and Oslo, Norway for the UNAIDS High Level Consultation on HIV criminalization in February, 2012, sharing his story. Robert is active with the Positive Justice Project and the HIV Justice Network.
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I describe myself as a "positive person with purpose." My goal is to help people living with HIV/AIDS discover similarities in each other ... and form friendships. I want to ease the shock of a diagnosis and remind people that our dreams are not infected. I am also an HIV/AIDS cyber-activist, radio show host, blogger and social network guru.
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