Sunday, October 7, 2012
The news below makes an important point about the type of legal cases that AIDS Denialist Clark Baker targets for his Office of Medical and Scientific Justice (OMSJ). There are far better legal defenses than AIDS denialism for those accused of HIV-related crimes. Psychopaths aside, no one infected with HIV wants to infect another person. Failure to disclose HIV is a serious consequence of the stigma and discrimination that people living with HIV encounter. People with HIV may also fail to disclose when they believe that they are no longer infectious and use condoms. Reasonable people can differ regarding these dilemmas and their implications of HIV disclosure. What is not reasonable or even rational is to claim that no harm can come from failing to disclose because HIV does not cause AIDS, HIV tests are invalid, or some nutty conspiracy theory. Everyone accused of a crime deserves a competent defense. It looks like Canada is on the right track toward dealing with this issue. (Thanks to Truthy for the tip)
Wall Street Journal Law Blog
By Joe Palazzolo
People with low levels of HIV have no legal obligation to disclose their condition to sexual partners as long as they use a condom, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Friday.
From the ruling, authored by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin: The court, in a 9-0 decision, said a low viral load combined with condom protection doesn’t create “a significant risk of serious bodily harm.”
A significant risk of serious bodily harm is established by a realistic possibility of transmission of HIV. On the evidence before us, a realistic possibility of transmission is negated by evidence that the accused’s viral load was low at the time of intercourse and that condom protection was used. However, the general proposition that a low viral load combined with condom use negates a realistic possibility of transmission of HIV does not preclude the common law from adapting to future advances in treatment and to circumstances where risk factors other than those considered in the present case are at play.The court considered two separate cases, from Manitoba and Quebec. The court ruled 14 years ago that people with HIV had to disclose their condition to sexual partners or face a charge of aggravated sexual assault, which carries a maximum life sentence. Prosecutors from both provinces argued that people with HIV must inform their partners regardless of the risk.
In the U.S., more than 30 states have laws that make it illegal for people to not tell sexual partners whether they are HIV-positive.
Posted by Seth Kalichman at 11:01 PM