Monday, 2 January 2012

USA HIV Status Laws

WNYC (Iowa public radio) has produced a fascinating little item on HIV status disclosure in the USA, and it's available as a recording here. Failing to disclose positive HIV status to sexual partners is a crime in more than 30 states. In Iowa, it can carry a 25-year jail term.

The phone-in comment about whether using a condom is or is not a 'deal-breaker' is bang on the money, as health and policy changes have led to a major social change and a growing acceptance among men having sex with other men that condoms don't matter  -let alone those who openly seek out bareback encounters.

The comments also - at least for me - re-enforce the message that criminalisation just doesn't work, and as one of the commentator highlights, it can have unpleasant and un-intended outcomes such as blackmail whilst these voices remind us that behind the words about HIV and law are people, leading real and complex lives.

Curious to also here the comments about ignorance and the impact that has on testing in the USA.  It's important to contrast that with the development of criminal law in England and Wales which has focussed instead on the idea of recklessness which arguably does not allow a kind of ignorance defence to be deployed.

It's well worth a listen.

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