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Being HIV-positive is not a crime. It is a public health problem

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AIDS In Courts Human Rights Feminization of the epidemic February 2015 Gender Sexuality

Three bills in the Texas Legislative Assembly would use HIV status as a weapon, which would "reduce stigma"

Senator Joan Huffman, a heterosexual, embraced Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, after the two were inducted into the 84 legislature in January. Huffman introduced legislation to criminalize seropositivity. (Associated Press)

James Russell | Editor

Januari Leo, who works with Legacy Community Health Service, is a go-to girl when it comes to following bills in the Texas Legislature related to HIV / AIDS.

So when she calls it a damaging bill, she's probably not exaggerating.

Leo this week identified four bills introduced during this legislative session that directly impact people living with HIV. Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, filed the suit under the number SB 779, which would use the HIV status of a crime suspect where he would have conscientiously infected the HIV-infected victim.

The SB 1705 case, also hosted by Huffman and his companion HB 2395 by Republican Rick Miller, R-Sugar Land, would allow a court to test a teenager for HIV following a crime.

Moral prisoners
Now they want to put us in a moral prison. They do not see that this will lead to a reduction in testing, in simplistic reasoning where “if I don't know, I am not a criminal,” which would exacerbate and infinitely (redundancy is required) the number of serum-interrogatives. They forget that the responsibility for the safety of sexual relations is egalitarian and should be held by the people involved, not just those living with HIV, aggravating their problem…

Leo, a longtime social worker who has worked with clients living with HIV, is blunt when talking about the three bills: “They want to criminalize HIV. Being HIV positive is not a crime. It is a public health problem. “

Texas is one of five states that have no law criminalizing HIV, but there have been cases prosecuted in Texas based on exposure or transmission.

Currently 37 states have some type of criminal legislation related to exposure and / or HIV transmission in books, according to the progress of the LGBT Movement project.

According to the HIV Law and Policy Center, both the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV / AIDS and the US Department of Justice's Justice Department recommended the repeal of state HIV criminalization laws. They are joined by numerous medical organizations.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, states enacted HIV-specific criminal exposure laws during the uncertain days at the onset of the AIDS crisis, where almost nothing was known about the AIDS.

This legislation criminalizes HIV-positive people who know their status and intentionally expose others to the risk of contracting HIV (Note from the translator - Note that this legislation implies even those who, aware of their HIV-positive status, even using a condom).

To qualify for funding under the Ryan White Comprehensive Act at 1990, states were required to verify that their HIV criminalization laws were sufficient to prosecute criminals.

Sen. Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, introduced legislation that makes HIV testing a part of routine medical exams but giving individuals the choice to choose to leave.

"There is already legislation that makes it a crime to intentionally spread HIV," Leo said of the Ryan White Law requirements. “But these are not the heaviest. These new laws use HIV-positive status as a crime against people who are suspected of a crime but have yet to be proven guilty. They are allowing prosecutors to use private medical records, as stipulated under HIPPA, as a weapon against HIV-positive people.

Although the language of the cons closely identifies cases where the law could be applied, you can not forget the larger picture.

It's their face ...
It's their face…

"We are trying to reach zero HIV cases through so many resources, including PReP, screening and education," Leo said. But the authors of these laws may not realize that there is also an unintended result: stigmatization, which could cause less testing and thus awareness of the HIV-positive situation.

Since SB 194 by Senator Rodney Ellis, D-Houston, it makes the HIV test part of the routine of medical examinations by letting the patient choose to leave.

“It creates a pattern. You currently have to ask for an HIV test. Making people aware and eliminating voluntary testing because of stigma, ”said Leo from Ellis' account. It has now been introduced for a fourth time.

Another bill that saw its fair share of legislative sessions is HB 65 by Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon, D-San Antonio. The bill would create a pilot syringe exchange program in a handful of Texas counties, including Dallas, to help prevent the spread of HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and other infectious and communicable diseases.

O projeto de lei, infelizmente, foi utilizado como munição contra seus patrocinadores republicanos, incluindo o ex-senador Bob Deuell, que foi deposto pelos candidatos apoiados por grupos de extrema-direita, como O Direito a Life do Texas e o Empower Texans.

Like many supporters, Leo said she is playing the defense during the legislative session 84, where killing a bad bill is better than passing any good grades at all.


HIV Legislation

  • SB 1705 by Senator Joan Huffman and HB 2395 by Rep. Rick Miller would allow a court to test a teenager for HIV following a crime if it is suspected that the criminal suspect is HIV positive.
  • SB 779 by Sen. Huffman would allow a court to use the HIV-positive status of a criminal suspect against them if, consciously, it has infected the victim with HIV.
  • SB 194 by Senator Rodney Ellis does HIV testing part of the routine of medical examinations by letting the patient choose to leave.
  • HB 65 by Rep. Ruth McClendon would create a pilot syringe exchange program in certain areas of Texas.

This article was published in the Dallas 20 March 2015 printed edition of XNUMX.

Published in 20 by 2015 March by James Russell Translated and adapted from English by HIV in the LEGE for Portuguese of Brazil by Cláudio Souza and revised by M. *. M in 22 / 03 / 2015.

This news, which seems meaningless to us, could be a clear sign of something that begins to appear here as a sad nightmare, which is the transformation of HIV transmission into a heinous crime

I myself do not like PreP within the context in which they are inserted

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