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HIV/AIDS Blog Central

My Fabulous Disease

Sex While HIV Positive: The New Criminals


A Video Blog

By Mark S. King

August 31, 2010

As you and I relax here, surfing the internet, an HIV positive man is sitting in a Texas prison, serving a 35 year sentence for spitting on someone. In Michigan, an HIV positive man was charged for not disclosing his status under a bio-terrorism statute. And there's a statute on the books in Iowa that can jail you for kissing someone without disclosing.

The level of stigma, ignorance and injustice of these examples is frightening, and caseloads are growing. Already, there have been over 400 prosecutions in the United States and more than 200 convictions.

And just weeks ago, Nadja Benaissa, an HIV positive German pop star, barely escaped prison when a judge gave her a suspended sentence for not disclosing to her sexual partners.

This is an emotional issue that carries some baggage. Many of us have a friend who was infected by someone who lied about their status or didn't disclose, and these infuriating instances make me want to see those people "pay" for what they did. But the more I have learned about the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure, the more I am convinced these laws are applied badly and actually do more harm than good. If I don't get tested, I can't be prosecuted for not disclosing my status, right?


Episode 20 -- Sex While HIV Positive: The New Criminals

This was a hot topic at AIDS2010 in Vienna, and this month it arose again at the Gay Men's Health Summit in Ft. Lauderdale.

At the Gay Men's Health Summit, I spoke with an iconic figure in the AIDS movement, POZ Magazine founder Sean Strub following his workshop on criminalization. Sean is the force behind the Positive Justice Project, which advocates against HIV criminalization as part of the HIV/AIDS Center for Law and Policy.

Sean does a terrific job at explaining the harm to public health created by criminalization laws. I'd also like to mention the great work being done by Edwin Bernard in Europe and AIDSMap regarding this issue. And of course, TheBody.com has a great overview of articles on this topic.

Do you support laws that criminalize people who don't disclose their status before sex? Should they be repealed? I'll be interested in your reactions to this interview!

In the meantime, my friends, please be well.

Mark

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See Also
TheBody.com's Just Diagnosed Resource Center
Telling Others You're HIV Positive
More on U.S. Laws/News Regarding HIV Disclosure

 

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VIDEO BLOG:
My Fabulous Disease


Mark S. King has been an active AIDS activist, writer and community organization leader since the early 1980s in Los Angeles. He has been an outspoken advocate for prevention education and for issues important to those living with HIV.

Diagnosed in 1985, Mark has held positions with the Los Angeles Shanti Foundation, AID Atlanta and AIDS Survival Project, and is an award-winning writer. He continues his volunteer work as an AIDS educator and speaker for conferences and events.

Speaking engagements: Mark King is available to speak to groups. Contact Mark about speaking at your organization or event!


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A Place Like This by Mark King

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Interviews With Mark:

Mark King Looks Back at the AIDS Epidemic's Darkest Hour in the U.S. (May 14, 2008)

This Month in HIV: Crystal Methamphetamine and HIV (August 2007)


Articles by Mark:

Meth Burial (May 2008)

Outliving My Father (May 22, 2001)
Mark recounts how years of caring for friends dying of AIDS prepared him for taking care of his dying father
From The Advocate

AIDS Always Benefits from What We Don't Talk About (April 2001)


For the rest of Mark's articles, click here.


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