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Wed Jun 27, 2012, 01:37 PM

Should Not Disclosing Your HIV Status Be a Crime?



In 2007, Donald Bogardus contracted HIV from his long-term partner. When he later had unprotected sex with a man who didn't know Bogardus was HIV positive, he was charged under an Iowa law that criminalizes the transmission of HIV.

"I wanted to tell him," Bogardus told the Daily Iowan, "but when I went to say it, I clammed up…I was afraid he was going to blab it out to everybody."

Now Bogardus—a church-going, nursing-home worker with cerebral palsy and a pet goldfish named Survivor—faces 25 years in prison and lifelong sex offender status. For many opponents of criminal HIV transmission statutes, who argue that they are ineffective at preventing transmission and stigmatize the HIV-positive, he's become the poster boy for the laws' severity.

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Iowa's law does not require that the sexual partner at risk of transmission actually contract the virus, and prosecutors have even won cases where a condom was used.

That's what happened to Nick Rhoades. Though he and Adam Plendl used a condom when they had sex, and Plendl didn't contract HIV, Rhoades was arrested and charged with criminal transmission of HIV. He plead guilty on the advice of his lawyer and was sentenced to 25 years in prison. On Thursday, Rhoades' new lawyers appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court arguing that the conviction should be overturned because he had used a condom. "The law only applies to those who intend to expose others to HIV," said Christopher Clark, an attorney for the LGBT rights group Lambda Legal, Rhoades' new legal representation, in a statement posted on the organization's website.

http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/06/criminal-transmission-hiv-law

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Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply Should Not Disclosing Your HIV Status Be a Crime? (Original post)
cynatnite Jun 2012 OP
ladjf Jun 2012 #1
monmouth Jun 2012 #2
Comrade_McKenzie Jun 2012 #3
Swede Atlanta Jun 2012 #4
FarCenter Jun 2012 #8
4th law of robotics Jun 2012 #5
NCTraveler Jun 2012 #6
GusFring Jun 2012 #7
HopeHoops Jun 2012 #9
Proud Liberal Dem Jun 2012 #10
OneTenthofOnePercent Jun 2012 #11
panader0 Jun 2012 #12

Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 01:40 PM

1. Yes. nt

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 01:42 PM

2. Yes...n/t

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 01:43 PM

3. Failure to disclose any STD to a sexual partner should be a crime. nt

 

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 02:04 PM

4. I have to place this situation in context.....

 

From what I can tell from the map - -

The "red" states (such as Iowa) do not have a law requiring disclosure of an STD but have one that requires disclosure of HIV status. Prosecutions for non-disclosure are exclusively for violation of the law requiring HIV disclosure

"The "green" states do not have a law requiring disclosure of an STD but have one that requires disclosure of HIV status. Prosecutions for non-disclosure are available for violation of failure to disclose HIV status as well as other felony statutes, e.g. endangering the life of another, etc.

If that's the case then I have an issue. If one is going to be intimate with anyone and knows they have any type of communicable disease (STD or other), that status should be disclosed to the other person for their informed participation.

But I have a problem where it appears states have an HIV disclosure requirement but no disclosure of STDs. While HIV kills, it is a more manageable virus than before and can often be treated as a chronic condition. But the same can be said for STDs. Herpes, for example, never goes away. It can be managed but it is with you for life. There are virulent strains of gonorrhea and syphilis that are virtually untreatable.

So HIV should not be singled out. Any communicable disease that can be transmitted by intimate contact should require disclosure.

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Response to Swede Atlanta (Reply #4)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 02:32 PM

8. As syphilis and gonorrhea become drug resistant and lethal, they should be added to the law with HIV

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 02:21 PM

5. To a sexual partner before engaging in any activities that could spread it? Absolutely.

 

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Response to 4th law of robotics (Reply #5)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 02:26 PM

6. This. nt

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 02:28 PM

7. hell yes. This guy couldnt have got a condom?nt

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 02:33 PM

9. It depends on the circumstances. You can't drive a truck with a recent DUI conviction.

 

There are contexts in which communicable diseases of various types SHOULD be disclosed. Office work isn't one of them. One of our good friends voluntarily disclosed his HIV positive status because he was a black belt (and that usually involves blood) and didn't want to infect anyone else. It wasn't required. He just felt it was the ethical thing to do.

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 05:53 PM

10. Disclosure of a life-threatening illness should be the norm in sexual relationships IMHO

Should it be a crime not to? There's a lot of good arguments on both sides. IMHO people need to treat sexual relationships like driving: Drive safely and protect yourself (i.e. demand protection be used with new partners, stay sober) and assume that other people are going to do something dangerous and/or unpredictable. The biggest problem with STDs and HIV is that many times people put themselves in situations where they're too intoxicated/under influence to make safe decisions in regards sexual activity, use protection, let alone make disclosures like this. Unless there is a specific intent to infect people with HIV, I have a hard time deciding whether or not a failure to disclose constitutes an actual crime, however. People IMHO need to be better educated about HIV/STDs, stay sober, and protect themselves better when it comes to sexual relationships. People should be honest too but it's impossible IMHO to assure that everybody is being honest about everything at all times, unfortunately.

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 06:17 PM

11. Absolutely. nt

 

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Response to cynatnite (Original post)

Wed Jun 27, 2012, 06:20 PM

12. Not disclosing should be a crime if you're having sex.

Applying for a job, no.

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