Prosecuting for knowingly transmitting HIV is warranted by ProQuest


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									                          Salon                                                                                                                                                CMAJ

                          Prosecuting for knowingly transmitting HIV is warranted

                                    bout 6 years ago I met a new                          and maliciously and should be held ac-              The absence of standard prosecutorial
                                    patient who was told on her                           countable by the state for his conduct.         criteria for triggering criminal charges in
                                    19th birthday that she was HIV                           Some argue that criminal prosecution         cases of HIV transmission has fed the
                          infected. She had been in a relationship                        will dissuade persons from being tested         solipsistic opposition to the appropriate
                          with a man 8 years older. Although he                           for HIV and therefore promote HIV               application of criminal law. UNAIDS
                          knew that he was HIV positive, she did                          transmission by these persons who do            opposes the prosecution of those who do
                          not. He had been thoroughly counselled                                                                          not know their HIV status. But what
                          and knew all about HIV transmission.                                                                            about persons at high risk, who have
                              The patient fell in love with this man.                                                                     been told that they exhibit the classic
                          He did not disclose his status. They ini-                                                                       physical signs of HIV infection and have
                          tially used condoms but after a while he                                                                        been counselled on transmission and pre-
                          began to cajole her, saying that condoms                                                                        vention? Such persons should not be ex-
                          were unnecessary and that he had no in-                                                                         cused from criminal liability for non-
                          fections, specifically HIV. He lied to                                                                          disclosure and deliberate infection of
                          her, exploited her affection for him, re-                                                                       others simply because they have de-
                          assured her and charmed her. She agreed                                                                         clined HIV testing. Still, it would be out-
                          not to use condoms and he infected her.                                                                         rageous to apply criminal law in the case
                              The patient was devastated and felt                                                                         of an HIV-infected woman about to be
                          that he should be stopped from infecting                                                                        raped, for her failure to disclose. Simi-
                          others in the same fashion. She called the                                                                      larly, criminal prosecution would be in-
                          police and public health authorities, but                                                                       appropriate in the more common situa-
                                                                         Fred Sebastian

                          neither responded. About a year later, by                                                                       tion of an HIV-infected woman who
                          chance, she met another young woman                                                                             risks harm or being killed if she discloses
                          who this man had tried to seduce without                                                                        to her male partner. It is time to establish
                          condoms, lying about his status. Lucky                                                                          the reasonable threshold of HIV trans-
                          for her, the young woman refused. My                            not know their status.3 Such speculation        mission behaviour that should justifiably
                          patient was furious and again called the         
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