HIV/AIDS Advocacy Groups Protest Ruling in Case Regarding HIV-Positive Man, Saliva
May 20, 2008
Several HIV/AIDS advocacy groups are saying that a recent ruling in a Dallas County, Texas, case that an HIV-positive man who spit into the mouth and eye of a Dallas police officer was using saliva as a deadly weapon was excessive, the Dallas Morning News reports. CDC and "countless doctors say no one has ever contracted the virus from" saliva, the Morning News reports. According to Bebe Anderson, HIV project director for Lambda Legal, the group is criticizing the ruling, saying it could lead to a misunderstanding of how HIV is transmitted (Ellis, Dallas Morning News, 5/17).
Dallas County prosecutor Jenni Morse said that any risk level is sufficient for saliva to be considered a deadly weapon. "No matter how minuscule, there is some risk," Morse said, adding, "That means there is the possibility of causing serious bodily injury or death," the legal definition of a deadly weapon. Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins added that "it was clear [Campbell] intended to cause serious bodily injury" to Waller. Anderson said, "It's been 25 years since the virus was identified, but there are still lots of fears." She added, "We are still facing people losing their jobs and fighting for their children because of fears that are unfounded" (Dallas Morning News, 5/17).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.