Queerty is better as a member

Log in | Register
POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT

ACT UP Protests HIV Transmission Laws At New York Pride

On Sunday, millions will bask in the great gay glow that is New York Pride. But at least one parade contingent won’t be so chipper: ACT UP is joining local activist group Queerocracy to raise awareness about HIV transmission laws, which criminalize not disclosing one’s HIV+ status before engaging in sex.

The laws, in effect in 34 states and two U.S. territories, have been used to imprison people who used condoms, had undetectable viral loads and didn’t actually transmit the virus—based solely on the allegation they didn’t tell their partner they were positive. (Spitting and biting have also resulted in criminal convictions and stiff sentences.) “People with HIV are being prosecuted based on ignorance and bigotry,”  says Queerocracy’s Megan Mulholland. “These laws create a ‘viral underclass’ in the law and do not take contemporary science into consideration.”

Marchers, who will don prison stripes and orange jumpsuits, hope to get paradegoers to encourage Congress to support the Repeal HIV Discrimination Act, which would push states to amend their current transmission statutes.  Says ACT UP founding member Eric Sawyer, “HIV criminalization laws were supposedly created to prevent the transmission of HIV, but they’re actually doing the opposite.  They drive people away from HIV testing, since knowing your status can subject you to criminal prosecution.”

 

photo by: Rory Finneren
By:           Dan Avery
On:           Jun 23, 2012
Tagged: , , , , ,
  • 83 Comments
    • Hello
      Hello

      It’s important not to discriminate against people with HIV on any level. When it comes to my own safety however, I draw the line. It’s quite simple, if you know your status then share it with your potential partner. There is nothing discriminatory about this requirement. Saying to some one after sex that you have HIV but your loads are undetectable is bullshit. I don’t care what science says, I want to know and then decide. Perhaps there is only a 99.99 percent chance it will get transmitted but I am not willing to take the .01 percent chance. So if a person willingly infects another, that person is a menace to society and should be locked away.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 11:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hello
      Hello

      Correction: Perhaps there is only a .01 percent chance it will get transmitted but I am not willing to trust the 99.99 percent chance it won’t.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 11:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WillP
      WillP

      Before sex, everyone should be required to go to the statehouse and get a permit for sex. This should be required for every sexual act. The risk is just too high to allow people to have sex on their own. Only the government can make sure that you are smart enough to ask your partner his status and history.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 11:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Todd
      Todd

      To be clear, they’re not protesting transmission laws, they’re protesting disclosure laws. NO ONE IS PROTESTING TRANSMISSION LAWS. THEY’RE PROTESTING DISCLOSURE LAWS. NOO ONE IS SAYING TRANSMISSION IS OK, THEY’RE JUST SAYING POZ PEOPLE SHOULDN’T BE REQUIRED TO WALK AROUND WITH A SCARLET LETTER OR A TATTOO ON THEIR FOREHEADS.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Todd
      Todd

      @Hello: “I don’t care what science says”. Well then, in that case, as a homosexual, you should be required to announce yourself to the general public, because you could be a child molester or sex fiend. I don’t care what science says, I care what I want to think. Right? I mean, thats what you’re saying, right you fucking bigot?

      Jun 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Goodbye
      Goodbye

      What ‘Hello’ seems to be saying, and what I wholeheartedly agree with, isn’t that HIV positive people should go around telling the world what their status is. What he’s saying is that they should tell the person they’re about to have sex with before they have it.

      And just because someone had a undetectable viral load at their last doctor visit doesn’t mean that it’s still undetectable. Especially when you consider that some portion of the guys who won’t tell you upfront are going to be the same guys who don’t stick to their treatment regiments as well (IE: the guys who don’t view it as a big deal).

      I would go a slightly different path, however, and argue that not disclosing your status should be classified as rape. In much the same way highly intoxicated individuals can’t consent in many states, it is impossible for someone to make an informed decision if information is being willingly withheld.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 2:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hello
      Hello

      @Goodbye: Thank you …this is precisely what I meant.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hello
      Hello

      @Todd: Idiot it’s not about announcing yourself in public. It’s about telling the person you are poz so they can decide if they want to take the risk. No I don’t care what science says. Science says a lot that is later proven incorrect. Science evolves and frankly I don’t believe sex is ever 100 percent safe. That’s a lie perpetuated by gays with no boundaries.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hello
      Hello

      @Todd: It’s simple…disclose your status to your partner before sex! How hard is that to understand? Yes lying to your partner is saying transmission is OK because not telling can lead to transmission so you are not making sense.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 3:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Todd
      Todd

      @Goodbye: What do you think happens with all of this disclosing? Do you think the people we sleep with keep it quiet? No, it gets out, and with it, our jobs, our privacy and our dignity. Disclosure also forcibly segretates us, which magnifies the hardships we face. It slaughters our confidence, leads to decreased mental health and a generalized sense of community detachment, which in turn leads to higher rates of drug use, violence and disenfranchisement. All of this is done in the name of “prevention” against people who probably pose a smaller liklihood of transmitting the virus than someone who thinks they’re negative. As for “just because someone had an undetectable viral load at their last doctor visit doesn’t mean its still undetectle”, I cry bullshit. The rate of treatment failure is much lower than the rate of seroconversion amongst gay men, making that entire claim moot.

      Why should nondisclosure be considered rape? Rape is a forcible act which hurts the victim. Nondisclosure, in and of itself, does not. To compare the two is to exhibit the sort of selfish lack of perspective gay people are notorious for. This sort of display is exactly why many others perceive gay men as narcissistic and completely lacking in any real concept of discrimination, a belief that has itself been used to oppress gays.

      Someone on here once said “disclosure isn’t a civil rights issue”. “______ isn’t a civil rights issue” are the famous last words of any previously oppressed group trying to further raise itself up at the expense of another group. Instead of trying to compare someone who participates in consensual recreational sex with someone who doesn’t pose a reasonable risk to someone who is physically and psychologically scarred by force or coercion, I suggest you take this “Pride Season” to reflect on how privileged you truly are. Please, think about how sad it is that you’re seeking to destroy the lives of other people with a half-assed claim of “personal health”, and ask yourself what you’ve become.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 3:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Luis
      Luis

      @Todd: You can concoct all sorts of hypothetical “consequences” of disclosure to justify your depraved disrespect for others. Your fears, real or hypothetical, are not your partners’ problem. If in a particular case those fears are legitimate and you don’t feel safe disclosing because you don’t think that you can trust your partner to keep your confidence or for any other reason, then by all means don’t have sex with that person and you won’t have to disclose a thing. The choice is yours.

      What you want is to have sexual encounters and you are prepared to get them by foisting risk onto an uninformed partner. And you have the audacity to accuse others of having a privileged mindset. I can’t imagine anything more obscenely selfish that a man who puts his own sexual pleasure over his respect for other people.

      As with any chronic disease, having HIV means dealing with and managing certain burdens and impositions that you wouldn’t have to deal with otherwise. Taking meds, getting viral load testing, regulating diet, shelling out money for treatment, and taking precautions to avoid transmission are impositions on time and freedom that one wouldn’t have to endure if he didn’t have the virus. But if you do have the virus, you adjust and cope and incorporate these practices into your life. So it is with disclosure for sex partners.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 4:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Well
      Well

      @Hello, your argument sounds logical but falls apart given your willingness to actually have sex with people who think they are negative. HIV is mostly incurred by sexual partners of people who think they are negative but aren’t, who have a higher risk of transmitting something to you given that they may have higher viral loads and/or are less diligent about safety. You should know that asking someone about their status is pretty much meaningless, and doing so does not absolve you of responsibility for your own protection. You should assume everyone is positive and take appropriate measures. If you are not willing to do so, you should either not be having sex at all or else accept your share of the responsibility.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Well
      Well

      Disclosing HIV status to anybody is disclosing it to everybody.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Some Random Guy
      Some Random Guy

      Everyone here, including Todd, is referring very generally to “sex” but we can be more specific.

      The only possible, minuscule risk in this situation would be if the HIV+, undetectable (etc.) guy with the condom is the top during anal sex. (Even without a condom, transmission would be nearly impossible, but let’s assume there’s a condom.) If he is on the bottom, or if the guys do any other sex act, there won’t be even a minuscule risk.

      Long-time sero-discordant relationship here. Science? – well, it’s not rocket science!

      Jun 23, 2012 at 4:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • J. bocca
      J. bocca

      Of course people with HIV are going to protest transmission laws, wouldn’t murderers protest murder laws lol. They don’t care about the uninfected.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 4:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hello
      Hello

      @Well: So how bout this.

      You meet someone and they’re poz and know it. You ask them their status and they say negative. You say great, let’s do it. Then you have sex under the false belief that you are safe.

      Shortly after you get sick and discover you now have HIV. You find out later the person you slept with lied and gave it to you. I guess your attitude is blame yourself.

      If the person didn’t know they were poz ahead of time then yes you take responsibility. If they knew it then while you might share responsibility for being gullible, the situation could have been avoided by their disclosure.

      I bet you would change your tune if you knew someone intentionally infected you. Knowingly infecting someone (I consider lack of disclosure knowing) is and should be a crime. This has nothing to do with bigotry or discrimination.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hello
      Hello

      @J. bocca: This comment might be a tad nasty.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 4:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hello
      Hello

      @Some Random Guy: The issue is disclosure not risk.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 4:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Some Random Guy
      Some Random Guy

      @J. bocca: There are thousands of sero-discordant relationships, probably tens of thousands.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Todd
      Todd

      @Luis: The difference between changes in diet and medical costs and disclosure is that while the former options are necessary evils, the latter exists solely to appease the unrelenting bigotry, hypochondria and sense of entitlement exhibited by people like you. Asking someone to quit having sex or live with the consequences to continue with a charade of safety is even more cruel and asinine than the “gay people are free to marry, as long as it is the opposite sex” arguement that was so popular amongst religious conservatives in the 90s. Their arguement has failed, and so to will yours.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 4:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Some Random Guy
      Some Random Guy

      @Hello: Yes, we understand. You wait for them to “disclose” so you can screech hysterically, act pompous and superior, and run away. Then you find a guy who lies to you, or who thinks he’s negative but isn’t really. Yes, you’ve made that all pretty clear. Good luck with all that.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Todd
      Todd

      @Hello: First, let’s establish that things are not that cut and dry. Current US treatment guidelines call for every person who is diagnosed as positive to be immediately placed on treatment, and as has been repeated ad-nauseum, people who are on treatment do not pose a reasonable risk of transmission, so someone who has actually taken control of their health, gotten the test and done what they need to do is not the one who is dangerous to you. Your entire arguement doesn’t synch with the modern reality of the epidemic, as the scenario you call to mind would almost certainly require someone to either be intentionally nonadherent, or bareback a partner who is so new as to be a stranger.

      As for “intentional infection”, I know people who were infected by partners who withheld their status. I also suspect I may have been infected by someone who was intentionally spreading the disease. That is neither here nor there to the concept that people who are not infectious should not be required to put their asses on the line for your delusions. You are again conflating the issues of disclosure and transmission. Maybe this is because, after a lifetime of saying things like “I don’t care what science says”, you’ve come to believe that your opinion trumps reality. I don’t know. What I do know is that your opinions are no different than the religious conservatives you probably think persecute you.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 5:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lifer
      Lifer

      HIV/gono/syph/herp/crabs are not your gifts to freely expose your sexual partner to (“not a reasonable risk” does not mean zero risk). Wrap it up w/ a bow & put a nametag on it, so your partner may decide if he or she would like to open it or leave it under the tree for the next partner invited to your office holiday party.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 6:55 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Todd
      Todd

      @Lifer: Perhaps you’re confused. There doesn’t seem to be any exposure. When we talk about “reasonable risk”, we’re not talking about 1% or even .01%. We’re talking about a rate of transmission so small that it doesn’t seem to have been medically documented. The only reason we even concede that it is a risk is because, according to our models of understanding, it COULD happen. We’re talking about what is called a “theoretical risk”. Its up there with the fact that the wheels COULD fall off your call while on the freeway, or a black hole COULD open up and swallow us all tomorrow. We, as a society, don’t generally insulate ourselves against theoretical risks. The relative cost compared the the relative benefit makes this a losing proposition for everyone involved. The fact that we choose to single this one out over any of the other batshit insane fears that may keep us up at night clearly shows that these laws are less about protection than they are oppression. There is no “bow”. There is no “nametag”, only statistical reality and common sense.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 7:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Well
      Well

      @Todd, let’s not delude ourselves that someone having undetectable viral load isn’t infectious. Please don’t propagate a dangerous myth, since it may prompt people to not take appropriate safety precautions. A positive person should ALWAYS have only safe sex with a negative person, no matter what their viral load. Undetectable virus is not the same as zero virus, and in fact it has been shown recently that people whose blood viral load is undetectable may still have detectable virus in their semen. Even a single viral particle in the wrong place can cause infection.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 7:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Well
      Well

      @ Hello: “You meet someone and they’re poz and know it. You ask them their status and they say negative. You say great, let’s do it. Then you have sex under the false belief that you are safe.”

      What I am saying is that, at least in casual dating, your belief that you are safe is ALWAYS false, even if they are negative. If you practice safe sex, then you are safe no matter what their status. But if you believe that you are safe in this situation and therefore bareback, then you are a fool. Even if the person was provably NEGATIVE in their latest HIV test and you bareback with them, you are a fool, since they may just not have seroconverted yet.

      So the truth is that, as far as your safety is concerned, it doesn’t really matter what they tell you or whether they are lying or not.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 7:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Todd
      Todd

      @Well: The only problem with that opinion is that it hasnt been observed.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 8:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Esculapio Mitiríades Torquedama de la Cueva
      Esculapio Mitiríades Torquedama de la Cueva

      Disclosure is and always has been an issue of personal ethics, and one that’s nearly impossible to regulate through legislation. If you penalize non-disclosure, all you do is dissuade testing (because as long as you don’t know you’re poz, you’re not breaking the law; not my line of thought, but one certain to be promoted by such laws).

      In any case, if you’re out having sex, you should always know what the risks are. And you should always assume those risks as your own. There is no reason for someone else to be penalized for the risks you yourself have taken. If you have sex, you should be aware of the fact that some of your partners may be HIV positive. And you should be aware that, depending on what you do with said partner, there is an X chance that you may become infected. And if you can’t handle that probability, then you should probably give up having sex and take up crocheting.

      HIV+ people shouldn’t be sent to jail for other people’s fear and panic and inability to accept the realities of modern-day sex.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 9:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Todd
      Todd

      @Well: Let me elaborate that I do believe *everyone* should continue to use condoms. There are a host of other nasty diseases floating around, and monogamy sounds nice but doesn’t always work as we’d hope. Condoms really are the most sensible option for all parties. I think that when you’re talking about the issue of undetectability as it relates to HIV transmission, the data is pretty unambiguous-that it does in fact take a certain viral threshold to be infectious, and undetectables, as well as virtually everyone who is undergoing treatment, is below this threshhold. We’ve actually observed this for close to two decades. Even in the 90s, scientists were explicitly stating that transmission doesn’t seem to occur provided that viral load was less than 1500. The fact that poz guys frequently have detectable loads in their semen but not their blood is immaterial, as it is still not infectious.
      There are plenty of things to be afraid of besides HIV. Syphillis might be curable, but I know someone who almost went blind from it. My home county recorded several dozen cases of neurosyphillis amongst the HIV- a few years back. They’re probably not feeling too “clean”, regardless of what their HIV tests say. There’s a wealth of data and anecdote that hep C is sexually transmitted amongst poz and neg people alike. I think that when we start belaboring theoretical risks about how “one copy might be infectious”, we’re just creating a lot of fear of the unlikely. The minute people know a serodiscordant couple that barebacks and doesn’t transmit, they’ll disregard the entire condom message, totally ignoring other health complications that could arise. Meanwhile, because perceived infectiousness is a source of stigma, we’re marginalizing poz people. The message people need to take away…the ONLY message that has been linked with a decrease in transmission rates and the one that is not damning to poz people, is to treat EVERYONE as if they are positive.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 10:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Esculapio Mitiríades Torquedama de la Cueva
      Esculapio Mitiríades Torquedama de la Cueva

      @Todd: “the ONLY message that has been linked with a decrease in transmission rates and the one that is not damning to poz people, is to treat EVERYONE as if they are positive.”

      Perfectly put.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 11:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • George C. O'Connor
      George C. O'Connor

      @Some Random Guy: The gross stupidity here is that this is some kind of secret the so-called “victim” couldn’t possibly have been aware of. “It takes two to tango” and if it is not rape it is not *criminal* and should never have been made into an issue of any description and “HIV sero-positivity” once again becoming a *blame game* is patently absurd. It’s no obscure, arcane knowledge that the pores in any condom are roughly 700 times larger than HIV is said to be and who is so unafraid that they wouldn’t already know that?
      So now “disclosure” is a legal matter? I never knew when but I knew in this lawsuit-happy nation it would become one. But, very curiously, the legal status didn’t come into play until it was *heterosexually* transmitted, male to female. Why only then?
      As Todd indicated, “…treat EVERYONE as if they are positive.” Nothing else would make a whit of logical sense.

      Jun 23, 2012 at 11:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RileyRoads
      RileyRoads

      You’ve got one side who equates all people who have HIV as murders and you’ve got another side arguing about discretion.

      I don’t have a formed opinion on this, but the fact that those of you who are in favor of HIV transmission laws equate those who are HIV positive as murders make me stand with ACT UP. And everyone single one of you who didn’t denounce poster number #15 comment exactly comparing HIV positive men to murders are responsible for being hateful. You are no different than the westboro church in Kansas. Own your hate and simply say “my argument comes from a place of hate”

      Jun 24, 2012 at 2:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike Johnes
      Mike Johnes

      @Esculapio Mitiríades Torquedama de la Cueva: Based on a few posts you’ve made, and this one promoting celibacy for gay men, I’m starting to see through your postings. Are you a religious individual on here to “convert” gays in subtle manners. It sure reads like it, and very clearly so.
      Give up sex…and come join reading the Bible with you?

      Jun 24, 2012 at 2:09 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Esculapio Mitiríades Torquedama de la Cueva
      Esculapio Mitiríades Torquedama de la Cueva

      @Mike Johnes:

      I’m actually *not* promoting celibacy among gay men. All I said was that if you’re so scared of getting HIV that you think these types of non-disclosure laws are OK, then you probably should find something else to do with your spare time other than having sex.

      Which, put another way, means that if you’re adult enough to have sex, then you’re adult enough to (a) know what the risks are, (b) know how to minimize them, and (c) be willing to face the consequences if, given the level of risk you chose to accept, you end up drawing an unlucky card.

      Nobody else should be held legally responsible for the choices you make in the bedroom.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 2:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steven
      Steven

      Since it’s the same sociopaths making the same arguments over and over, I’ll just sum up the standard response:

      – To the argument that sex with an HIV+ person with an undetectable load is very low risk or that oral sex is low risk, the response is that it is your partner who gets to assess the risk he wants to take. Not you. After you disclose your status, you are perfectly free to argue your point about the degree of risk involved. If he is persuaded, then you can have all the consensual sex you want. But you don’t get to make that decision for your partner without his knowledge or involvement.

      – To the argument that everyone has a responsibility to look after his own health, the response is that is true. However, that responsibility is independent of your responsibility to disclose. Some HIV- men may be stupid or indifferent, but that doesn’t mean you get to take advantage of that. It is stupid to give out your social security to a telemarketer, but if the telemarketer then commits fraud, it won’t be any defense that the victim was gullible and should not have given out the number.

      – To Todd, who whines that all his partners would violate his trust and spread word of his status and that suggesting that he not have sex with these untrustworthy people is tantamount to telling him that he will never have sex ever again – the response is that you are truly a pathetic wretch. Did it occur to you that there are other options, such as getting to know your partner and establishing a foundation of trust before you get to the disclosure point? Or dating men who are already HIV+ and who would be less likely to react badly to disclosure? Or dating men in social circles where HIV is discussed in an open and caring manner, such that a bad reaction to disclosure would be minimal?

      Those are just ideas off the top of my head. But we all know that what you really want – and what the disclosure law imperils – is the ability to hook up with anyone, anytime and with no obstacles like informed consent to stand in the way of your orgasm. To that I say, too bad.

      I don’t imagine that anything will persuade a sex-driven sociopath like Todd. That is why we need the criminal law. If Todd lacks any sense of empathy or morality, at least his own selfish desire to stay out of prison may contain his debased instincts.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 3:57 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Global Traveler
      Global Traveler

      Gentlemen, unless you’re in a monogamous relationship (and you’re sure that’s the case) then the assumption has to be that everyone you’re with is HIV+ and you conduct yourself accordingly. Asking someone else to take responsibility for the risks you take isn’t reasonable, and you’re being foolish and dangerous with your own health.

      We all have the responsibility to educate ourselves, and then draw our own line as to what we consider safe and what we will and won’t do. To alter that decision based solely on the word of what is in many cases a stranger makes no sense.

      Many of these comments make it sound as though an HIV+ person raped someone.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 5:17 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sean Strub
      Sean Strub

      @Hello: You argue that your right to engage in risky sexual behavior is more important than the dignity and right to privacy for people with HIV? Regardless of how remote the risk, you believe people with HIV should be criminally liable if they do not inform you of their HIV status in advance.

      If I’m understanding your argument correctly, then I am curious to know if you extend your views to encompass other sexually transmitted diseases which, if left untreated, can harm or even potentially kill someone? Or is it just HIV you consider in this light?

      Jun 24, 2012 at 5:35 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sean Strub
      Sean Strub

      @Hello: @Goodbye:

      You point out, corrrectly, that one’s most recent viral load reading isn’t necessarily indicative of what it is in the present moment. People sometimes go off their meds or the treatment stops working.

      But one’s most recent HIV negative test, I would suggest, is even less likely to be indicative of what their HIV status is in the present moment. Ought they be prosecuted? What if they never had gotten tested, or hadn’t gotten tested in a long time, and it could be documented that they had engaged in unsafe sexual behaviors?

      Which is the more irresponsible behavior? Someone who has unprotected sex without knowing their own HIV status or someone who is positive and doesn’t disclose?

      From the comments posted, it sounds like many readers believe their HIV negative status to be an entitlement, imposing an obligation on the rest of the community to protect it as though this was no responsibility of their own.

      It is unfair to believe your own HIV negative status is of such importance that others must take legal responsibility when you put it at risk, by having unprotected sex.

      In any case, those with HIV who have not been tested are far more likely to transmit the virus than those who know they are positive. Newly infected people–who are also far less likely to know they are positive–are vastly more infectious than others with HIV.

      This entire discussion has a subtext that assumes that if people who knew they had HIV only disclosed their HIV status every time, we wouldn’t have a problem. That’s simply untrue, as people who know they have HIV are not nearly as likely to transmit as those who do not know they have HIV.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 5:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • R.A.
      R.A.

      As a very old man who somehow did not get infected and die along with most ofhis friends, I agree with you, but need to tell these young people while some gay men proved themselves in those early dark days of the plague, others lost it.

      I personally knew people who went out, absolutely infectious, and had unprotected sex. They justified it saying things like, “Well, anybody who’s out there is probably infected anyway.”

      One friend in particular, a hugely endowed guy who was physically striking even until has last months was completely irresponsible.

      As a community, we were more afraid back then of being stigmatized than saving lives. We called those first AIDS victims “our best and brightest,” and they were our only focus.

      So yes, Traveler, when it comes to sex, everyone must take responsibility.

      And while the HIV viruses is tamed now, if everyone let’s their guard down, unprotected sex on an international level will act like a giant petri dish and another horror will be born.

      Ask any epidemiologist.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 5:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sean Strub
      Sean Strub

      Which scenario would pose a greater risk of transmission:

      A) 1000 random hookups between parties who did not discuss HIV status and condoms were not used; or

      B) 1000 random hookups between parties who did not discuss HIV status and where at least one of the partners definitely had HIV but his last viral load test was undetectable?

      Scenario A would have more HIV transmission.

      The primary “act of irresponsibility”, for lack of a better term, is that of the person who does not want to be exposed to HIV–or other sexually-transmitted pathogens, to fail to adhere to protective behavioral boundaries.

      I don’t think anyone should knowingly put another person at risk of harm. I wish we all could have intimate lives where we never had to worry about another person not caring as much about our own health as we do ourselves. But that isn’t the real world.

      A true intent to harm someone (as in malicious intent, a desire to harm) should be subject to criminal penalties, whether one uses a baseball bat or a virus.

      But the failure to disclose one’s HIV status, especially when there is no measurable risk of transmission, should not more be a crime than failing to get tested in the first place or failing to prosecute people who put themselves at risk and end up acquiring HIV.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 6:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BeauBeau
      BeauBeau

      @Hello: Well, citing another queerty commenter from an earlier article, “I just won’t get tested… then I won’t be liable!”… This is an even more harmful and dangerous mentality.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 11:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hello
      Hello

      @BeauBeau:

      1. If you don’t know, no problem. You don’t know.

      2. If you do know you have a responsibility to tell. No excuses.

      3. End of story.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 12:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Todd
      Todd [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Steven: Reminds me of a documentary I watched on segregation. “I don’t think they should be oppressed, I just don’t think they should be equal to us”. You blame the victim of HIV laws for the fear created by your own promiscuity, then suggest the victim of those laws stop being promiscuous so that you don’t have to deal with reality. Truly astonishing! We don’t ask our airplane companies to tell us that luggage could fall out of the overhead bins and cripple us. We don’t ask our car companies to tell us the brakes could fail. We don’t ask people with other STDs to disclose, even though those STDs can be fatal too. This is because these are unlikely outcomes. Yet, somehow, you think you deserve some special right to hear about people’s HIV status, and complain that anyone who disagrees with these laws must be a sociopath. Wow. Fucking amazing.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 12:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hello
      Hello

      @Some Random Guy:

      “Yes, we understand. You wait for them to “disclose” so you can screech hysterically, act pompous and superior, and run away. Then you find a guy who lies to you, or who thinks he’s negative but isn’t really. Yes, you’ve made that all pretty clear. Good luck with all that.”

      ——-

      It’s my right and choice to screech, run away and act superior. I have a right to know. You people are so convinced that promiscuous sex is the only thing that drives gayness. And that because we are gay we can’t possibly keep it in our pants. Your attitude is why we are so diseased. Many many gays are only interested in their next trick.

      I’m frankly sick and tired of the lying gays that are only interested in themselves and promote the idea that everything is good as long as we don’t question it. Wrong is right and right is wrong until we suffer the consequences of the “gay lifestyle”. I don’t mean being gay so don’t call me a bigot.

      I mean the “gay lifestyle” of promiscuity, drugs and shallow obsession with youth and body.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Some Random Guy
      Some Random Guy

      @Esculapio Mitiríades Torquedama de la Cueva: “I’m actually *not* promoting celibacy among gay men. All I said was that if you’re so scared of getting HIV that you think these types of non-disclosure laws are OK, then you probably should find something else to do with your spare time other than having sex.”

      Well put. I suggest they never go out into the real world, stay home, and watch porn 16 hours a day. Half the Queerty readership seems to do that anyway so they’ll fit right in.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hello
      Hello

      @Todd: I am guessing that sadly you don’t tell your sex partners your status. Shame on you.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 1:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Some Random Guy
      Some Random Guy

      @Hello: Honey, nobody is trying to take away your right to screech. No doubt you’d screech anyway, whatever arcane laws are out there.

      AS I’VE ALREADY SAID HERE, I’ve been in a relationship for many years. Why do you assume I’m defending promiscuity? You demonstrate no capacity (in these comments at least) for being in a relationship of any kind.

      But to put it in your pompous fashion, promiscuity if not the issue. My boyfriend and I have met several HIV+ guys who got it from their FIRST boyfriend; usually they were very young, 18-22, and the bf was older, 30 or so. Barebacking causes HIV transmission, nothing else.

      So you can cut the pure and wholesome, hetero-normative b.s. about much you hate gay life.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 1:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Some Random Guy
      Some Random Guy

      @Hello: Todd has never said that at any point, but I’m guessing that he DOES tell them in order to keep the screechers like you away!

      Jun 24, 2012 at 1:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Todd
      Todd [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Some Random Guy: Actually, I said explicitly in another thread several days ago that I *do* tell them, for precisely that reason. As I stated in that thread, there is an offensive mis-perception that disagreement=nondisclosure=transmission=death. This just is not the case. It is actually fallacious reasoning to think that one equals the other. The fact that such stupidity continues to pass as acceptable speaks to how we demonize people with HIV. Its a bit like saying people who are gay should have to announce their sexuality, and anyone who doesn’t must be fucking children in the closet.

      @Todd:

      Jun 24, 2012 at 1:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Todd
      Todd [Different person #1 using similar name]

      See comment 141 in “why I refuse to get tested”.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Todd
      Todd [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Hello: “It’s my right and choice to screech, run away and act superior. I have a right to know. You people are so convinced that promiscuous sex is the only thing that drives gayness. And that because we are gay we can’t possibly keep it in our pants. Your attitude is why we are so diseased. Many many gays are only interested in their next trick.”

      Promiscuous sex isn’t the only thing that drives gayness, but one of the good things about being gay is that we can we stop trying to subscribe to a heterosexual model of relationships that not even they are able to maintain. NO ONE wants to be stuck with the same partner again and again and again forever and ever. It’s not “a dream come true”, its fucking Groundhog’s day. Gayness lost a great deal when it started to subscribe to a heteronormative ideal. First and foremost, it lost the ability to point out the things that aren’t working in heterosexual society, and doomed us to the very same fear, loathing, blame and covetousness that defines straight relationships. We see this manifest in the disclosure issue, where rather than take control of their bodies and behaviors, scores of gay men actually demand that the government marginalize other people to protect them from their own reckless unprotected sex.

      As an aside, this whole campaign seems to have been started by Steve Endean of the Human Rights Campaign, another Iowan, who ironically died of AIDS and admitted in his autobiography to repeatedly trolling for sex. It would seem that even your god can’t bring himself to say his prayers at night, but somehow that doesn’t stop you from maligning the rest of us for failing to show up at church. If you want to “keep it in your pants”, by all means, go out and find a man who enjoys knitting on Saturday nights. The two of you can sit home, alone, and complain about slutty gays having poopsex and enjoy “all natural sex” ™ until your Mom calls on the rotary phone and asks if you’d like to come over to play cards. That doesn’t mean that the rest of us are monsters, don’t know what we’re doing, or are out “spreading disease”.

      To be clear, none of these claims about disclosure have addressed the issue within the context of a long term relationship. What I think most of us are talking about is the issue of nondisclosure in hookups. That seems to be what happened in the Iowa incident, which spawned this latest series of articles. I think most people can reasonably state there is a difference in what we can expect from a partner of six months and someone we’ve met on BBRT. Disclosure laws are a blunt instrument, demanding disclosure from the former as well as the latter, and in the process enabling denial and stupidity while reducing a part of the population to second class citizen status.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 1:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Some Random Guy
      Some Random Guy

      @Todd: Sorry, I did miss that thread, but it doesn’t surprise me. “I *do* tell them, for precisely that reason”… you mean, the screeching? I guess Hello makes a good case for disclosure after all, hahahahahaha.

      For the record – since Hello is assuming/guessing a lot of stuff that no one actually writes – I am in a long-time, sero-discordant relationship; we’re hardly “promiscuous” (nor defending promiscuity) but we do disclose to the very, very, very occasional three-way; my bf posts often on Queerty; and we make it a policy not to say in blogs which of us is HIV+ and which is HIV- since we’re a team and we think it’s important to tell people that a l/t, sero-discordant relationship is not only possible, but EASY TO DO!

      So to explain it in terms Hello *might* understand, I may be the HIV-negative one saying these things. One doesn’t need to be poz to know a lot about it or how to guard against it. And as Hello demonstrates well, you don’t need to be HIV-negative to be utterly ignorant about it!

      Jun 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Merv
      Merv

      This reminds me of the time I lent my car to my friend. I knew it had brake problems, but I didn’t bother to tell him. Long story short, he failed to negotiate a curve, drove off a cliff, and died. I didn’t feel guilty, though. Lots of cars have brake problems, so it was his responsibility to do a 52 point safety inspection before getting behind the wheel.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Todd
      Todd

      @Merv: Noooo, its more like “this reminds me of the time I lent my car to my friend. It didn’t have brake problems, but he somehow got it into his head that the brakes could’ve fail. He had a conniption fit because I didn’t make him aware that there could possibly be a problem that never happened. He contacted the police, threw a hissy fit and had me sentenced to 25 years in prison.”

      Jun 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Some Random Guy
      Some Random Guy

      @Merv: That’s an absurd analogy. (Btw, you certainly would be liable in that situation, and I hope you’re not under the impression that you wouldn’t be.)

      There isn’t any equivalent of a “52 point safety inspection” here. There is merely the assumption that if anal sex is involved, the top puts a condom (and keeps it on). As should any two guys who think they’re both HIV-negative, who’ve recently met.

      The major problem with a law like this is it’s “he said, he said” nature, since there very well MIGHT have been disclosure anyway (who the f*** knows?) but some hysterical whiny bitch, even though he was NOT infected – as of course he wouldn’t be anyway – who has issues with being gay, still decides to be a drama queen and run to the cops, and lie, so as to ruin the sex partner’s life.

      Also, no one here is advocating NOT disclosing. (Try actually reading the freaking comments.) Like Todd, my partner and I like to avoid stupid, hysterical, whiny bitches.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Some Random Guy
      Some Random Guy

      @Todd: You’re doing a better job than I am, thanks! – so my boyfriend tells me to turn the *&#@ computer off and try to relax with beer in the yard.

      Thanks to Sean Strub too, whose work we’re familiar with – have bookmarked his “laws” site which I hadn’t known about.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 3:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DrewSF
      DrewSF

      ACTUP is such a joke now.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 3:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mitch
      Mitch

      What the hell is wrong with you people? What the hell has happened to the gay community? When did “prevention” come to mean shrieking like a howler monkey at people who are are infected with HIV? Are we really so privileged as a community that we can comfortably say things like “I don’t care what science says”? Are we really so backwards that we think our opinion of risk should dedicate health laws instead of science? What kind of Bizarro World do you people live in? No wonder many people are turning away from the whole construct of gay identity even as it becomes accepted by society. We’ve got a bunch of queens flailing their arms to techno music wearing gold angel wings and glitter body paint in a glorified outdoor orgy, but when asked to think rationally about their peers and their behavior, its the Salem With Trials all over again.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 3:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • R.A.
      R.A.

      @Todd:
      “NO ONE wants to be stuck with the same partner again and again and again forever and ever.”

      I thought that when I was 19 and having a great time living in New York City.

      Promiscuity is fun, but also a huge waste of time and effort spent on finding new partners to do variations on the same basic act.

      As you get older, your partners will be harder to find and when you do, they will be less attractive. Eventually, you may come to wish you had all that time back and taken up sculpture or woodworking or maybe gone for an advanced degree – or even had settled down with one good person.

      Every path we take involves a trade-off.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 4:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hello
      Hello [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Merv: Great analogy!

      Jun 24, 2012 at 5:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hello
      Hello [Different person #1 using similar name]

      It’s same Hello. Diff device. :(

      Jun 24, 2012 at 5:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hello
      Hello [Different person #1 using similar name]

      I don’t deny science or facts. I just don’t put my faith in what another person tells me as absolute truth. My instincts say otherwise. People have agendas to suit themselves. Whats the difference when right wingers make up and use their science against us. I prefer to trust my instinct which scream do not sleep with a person with hiv just because science says so.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bill
      Bill

      After reading this whole thread, I am convinced that we need these laws and we need them in the remaining 16 states. I am in one of those 16 states and tomorrow – Monday – I am writing to my state rep and I am going to attach a link to this page.

      People who think like “Todd” are a public health menace and they need to be prosecuted if they fail to disclose. This has nothing to do with “people with HIV” as a group. There is nothing illegal about having HIV. Many of the states that require disclosure also protect HIV+ people from discrimination in employment, housing, etc. Sean Strub and “Todd” are claiming to speak for people with HIV, when in fact they are only speaking for a group of unbelievably selfish people who have no respect for others.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 5:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Todd
      Todd [Different person #2 using similar name]

      @Bill: Ohhhhh, you’re writing your state representative and asking him to look at Queerty. And what will you say? “Dear State Representative, I enjoy meeting strangers for sex on Grindr. Because I refuse to concede to the medical reality that not all people who have HIV are infectious, and because I am a hypochondriac, I believe that an entire group of the US population should be made second class citizens so that I will feel safer about my own promiscuous behavior. Please, put a special law on the books to protect me from my own deviant sexuality. BTW, please also support gay marriage, because I deserve it. Yours in GOPride, Bill”.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 6:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sean Strub
      Sean Strub

      @Bill:

      Bill, are you going to advocate for more HIV-specific laws, or are you going to advocate for inclusion of all sexually-transmitted infections, or perhaps all the ones that if left untreated can seriously harm or even kill a person?

      It is clear that many of the posters here want to punish, severely, those who do not disclose, even independent of whether there is any risk present or harm inflicted.

      Setting aside the issues of fairness and justice, as a public health policy that is simply idiotic. There is a stack of research showing that these statutes do not achieve their intended purpose, reducing transmission. And there is a growing body of research demonstrating what many of us know already, simply from our own experience in the epidemic, that they are in fact driving new HIV transmission.

      There will be a paper presented at the AIDS conference next month that shows a correlation between gay men who believe in or support HIV criminalization statutes and the willingness to engage in unprotected anal intercourse. Those who have confidence in these statutes as public health policy are much more likely to put themselves at risk of acquiring HIV.

      The statutes create an illusion of safety for those who are negative or untested, discourage the responsible step of getting tested and drive stigma.

      This is a complex issue and almost everyone amongst my personal circle who now opposes these statutes a few months ago or a year or two ago would have said they supported them if asked if they thought it should be a crime for a person with HIV not to disclose. But once someone starts to look at the issue more closely and learns more about it, opinions start to change and it isn’t so easy to take such a position.

      I’m glad to engage anyone on this who is interested in discussing it or would like to see more material on the topic. I’m at seanstrub AT gmail DOT com and pretty easy to find.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 6:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Todd
      Todd [Different person #2 using similar name]

      @Hello: You don’t deny science or facts, you just don’t put your faith in what you’re told, huh? So what exactly does THAT mean, that you don’t deny something as science or fact so long as you personally discover it? The data is pretty well established here, that not all people with HIV are infectious. Requiring disclosure because you have a “gut feeling” is discrimination. Period. It is as abhorrent and senseless as the “gut feeling” straight people have that gay people should be locked up because we’re probably child molesters. I’m sorry, but you are not special, and you do not deserve special laws to protect your special self from a risk that doesn’t exist. NO ONE is saying that transmission is ok. NO ONE. What we’ve said…repeatedly…is that requiring disclosure in these instances is counteproductive, punishes the wrong people who pose no real risk, and marginalizes one small group of the population for the bigotry of another.

      BTW, you’re already sleeping with people who have HIV. At last count, one in five gay men are positive. All you’re really doing is making sure that you sleep with liars. Congratulations. You must feel very, very safe. Whether or not you are or are not is a different matter.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 6:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mitch
      Mitch

      @R.A.: Yes, Grandpa, I hear you, “youth is wasted on the young”. You’re right, we should all do something intelligent with our money, like buy savings bonds so that we can have a nice down payment for a house in Scarsboro or something.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 6:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hello
      Hello [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Mitch: Exactly!

      Jun 24, 2012 at 7:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hello
      Hello [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Todd: I don’t sleep around ever, nor does my partner. We like feeling safe. We don’t believe in cheapening our relationship with others. We are all we need because we don’t think with our dick.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 7:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MikeUK
      MikeUK

      Todd-People who are monogamous like myself and most other people who are gay, bisexual, hetero, and even trans are fine with having a monogamous LTR and that’s what we want in a partner.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 7:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Todd
      Todd

      @Hello: If that’s how you choose to live, that is within your right. What is NOT within your right is to start creating laws that unnecessarily restrict other people, tell others they should be living like you when they point out those laws are pointless and damaging and then try to veer the discussion off course into a morality play about monogamy because you feel like it.

      Jun 24, 2012 at 9:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Carlos
      Carlos

      Reviewing the comments in this thread, Steven makes two excellent and irrefutable points (I quote)

      – To the argument that sex with an HIV+ person with an undetectable load is very low risk or that oral sex is low risk, the response is that it is your partner who gets to assess the risk he wants to take. Not you. After you disclose your status, you are perfectly free to argue your point about the degree of risk involved. If he is persuaded, then you can have all the consensual sex you want. But you don’t get to make that decision for your partner without his knowledge or involvement.
      – To the argument that everyone has a responsibility to look after his own health, the response is that is true. However, that responsibility is independent of your responsibility to disclose. Some HIV- men may be stupid or indifferent, but that doesn’t mean you get to take advantage of that. It is stupid to give out your social security to a telemarketer, but if the telemarketer then commits fraud, it won’t be any defense that the victim was gullible and should not have given out the number. (end quote)

      I quite understand why Sean Strubb and others would like to see HIV posivity as a civil rights issue but it is not. As individuals (with HIV) they are and must be given protection against all forms of discrimination BUT as individuals with an ultimately fatal disease they have the ethical and legal obligation not to infect others. The legal necessity of disclosure is in my mind a lesser burden than other challenges they face. Come on boys! It is not so difficult to tell a potential partner your sero-status! Disclose. In every act of disclosure, you are in your way making HIV more normative, and reducing the possibility (remote, we know, if you take your meds!) of passing on the virus. Be men.

      I could go point-by-point through Sean’s convoluted logic (sorry Sean, but that what it is) — accusations of bigotry, illusions of safety, shifting points of view — but it really serves to obfuscate the questions that Stephen raised above.

      However, and since I admire Sean’s work against HIV discrimination, I would urge him, not only to embrace disclosure, of course, but to recognize that disclosure is in fact the truly progressive option. Safe sex was an emergency strategy. A lifetime of condoms, treating everybody, even long term lovers, as if they are potentially infectors and cannot be trusted — where does this leave us?

      It leaves us alone, fragmented and I have to say fucked. As a community we must learn to trust one another and look out for the many idiots among us.

      Jun 25, 2012 at 4:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mike07042
      mike07042

      One of the problems with these laws is that, before sex, most people don’t get signed “informed consent” forms like you’d fill out at a hospital before surgery. So, virtually anyone with whom a poz person has had sex and who’s feeling vindictive (an ex-boyfriend for instance) can make out a false complaint for failure to disclose, which is difficult to disprove.

      Another problem is that it discourages people from finding out their status, because if they don’t know whether they’re positive, they have nothing to disclose.

      I agree that people should disclose their status before sex. But, because of these and other problems with HIV disclosure laws, I don’t agree that the criminal justice system is an effective way to make that happen.

      Jun 25, 2012 at 8:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Carlos
      Carlos

      Hello Mike,

      I am glad that we agree on the importance of disclosure. In response to your other two comments:

      First, if people are not tested, they will develop AIDS. While potential legal anxiety may discourage some (idiots) from finding out their status, I would hope that survival trumps their fears. We need to know our status, so that (if we are positive) we take drugs to survive and know not infect others or (if negative) guard our seronegative status. We need to continue to fund campaigns that encourage universal testing, and help those of us who test positive for HIV.

      Second, seropositive people might want to rethink anonymous one night stands for the reasons you note. Re the vindictive ex-boyfriend: within a relationship, an “informed consent” form is not a foolish idea in our litigious society. At the very least, one could make a declaration of seroposivity to a potential partner in the presence of a friend/witness.

      As others have said, becoming positive brings increased obligations, to yourself and others. I am no longer a Christian, but they do not have a monopoly on that useful phrase: “do unto others as you would have others do to you.” best to you, Carlos.

      Jun 25, 2012 at 9:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Some Random Guy
      Some Random Guy

      I think it’s interesting that it took Hello until Comment #69 (irony?) to pretend he has a partner of any kind, never mind a monogamous partner. NOW he’s pretending to be the pure and wholesome type! I don’t believe it, since he never even bothered to mention that earlier. If he actually had a partner, he wouldn’t be so hysterical and irrational about this subject.

      So apparently this is all about shoveling gay men into hetero-normative relationships, and trying to look “normal” for the straight people? Last time I checked, plenty of straight people sleep around, and most children born nowadays are “illegitimate” and “out of wedlock.” Perhaps Hello will faint upon hearing this news.

      The big problem with these laws, as Sean points out, is that they actually DISCOURAGE TESTING. One can only be prosecuted after doing the responsible thing – getting tested, getting treated, and not being a threat at all in reality. And the hysterical accuser is NOT EVEN A VICTIM – he’s not infected, and nothing has happened at all. In the real world.

      “Howler monkeys” indeed (#58).

      Jun 25, 2012 at 11:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Thomas
      Thomas

      When posts like this are written, a couple of things happen:

      1. Guys who have unprotected sex (in relationships or not), who are afraid of HIV, get nervous and upset. It reminds us that we are susceptible to this disease and that we can get it by doing something we greatly enjoy. No one likes to feel that way, so we vocalize our support of the controlling of the “scary” variable: The HIV + body. We reason that if all the poz guys would just get tested and be honest about their status and “serosort”, all us neg guys will be safer. While there’s some statistical truth to this, there’s no way to control for the variable of human emotions like pride, shame, and lust. Things happen, mistakes are made.

      2. Poz guys and poz advocates, who are afraid of being marginalized, get nervous and upset. Since this is a disease that is spread largely by behavior, those who are infected are often treated like they brought their situation on themselves. Many of them have, but let’s never lose sight of the fact that what they “did” to “bring this on themselves” we, for the most part, have all done. Some of the poz guys are relentless barebackers who, indeed, knew what they were getting into and certainly have the medical problems to show for it. Some of the poz guys out there had sex with one infected guy. Just one. Some were infected by their partners. A poz guy looks out at the world that doesn’t want him around because he’s gay. Then he looks at the gay community, where he is supposed to be welcome, and they, too, don’t want him around because he’s HIV positive. I guess in many ways I can understand why poz guys don’t want to share their status. I don’t agree with them and it makes me afraid (see #1), but would you want everyone to treat you like an outsider? So, in response to this threat, poz guys and poz advocates bristle at the idea of criminalization of hiv transmission.

      Let’s be honest about what is happening out there:

      1. We’re barebacking more
      2. We’re not necessarily asking about status
      3. We’re not necessarily sharing status
      4. We’re not getting tested
      5. Guys who don’t know their status are saying that they’re negative
      6. Guys who have undetectable viral loads are saying that they’re negative

      All of the above conspires to infect you with HIV. HIV is a distinct possibility with even one of the above in the equation.

      So, whose fault is it?:

      1. The neg guys
      2. The poz guys
      3. The unknown guys
      4. The undetectable guys

      All of the above has the ability to make mistakes. All of the above has the ability to lie. HIV is a distinct possibility with all of the above, even the neg guys. Don’t believe it? Ask even the most liberal HIV testing specialist and they will tell you that without a realtime PCR, you still have at least a 2-3 week window from last exposure for most HIV tests.

      Also, for those of us who are afraid that HIV+ guys will knowingly spread the virus, in study after study of gay men who have sex with men, HIV seropositive individuals are more likely to REDUCE the exposure level of partners of negative or unknown status by behavior modification and lower-risk sexual activities.

      Full disclosure: I am an HIV negative (by last test) guy in his late 20’s who has had unprotected sex on occasion.

      Jun 25, 2012 at 2:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mike07042
      mike07042

      @ Carlos. The possibilities of criminal sanction will and do discourage testing. Together with the way pre-existing condition exclusions work in our insurance law, I understand that many people just don’t get tested until they start to get sick these days.

      I’m also not convinced that the laws will discourage HIV+ people from having anonymous sex. It’s very hard to file a criminal complaint against someone whose name you don’t know because you had an encounter in a back room or a bathhouse. So, I think it might create an incentive for them to seek out anonymous sex.

      I agree with you about the Golden Rule; but, I don’t think that a criminal sanction is the best way to get people to observe it in this instance.

      Jun 25, 2012 at 3:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Todd
      Todd

      @Carlos: Its not “irrefutable”, its your opinion, and its an opinion that singles out the an HIV positive person for their supposed infectivity over every other theoretical risk. This is not “irrefutable”, this is discrimination, pure and simple. Trying to paint the issue as a matter of “personal choice” is asinine, as there is not a reasonable risk, everyone should treat their partners as poz anyways, so the only “choice” that could be made would be to run, shrieking from the person who happens to be producing antibodies.

      You really are low, trying to say that sean strub wants to see others as HIV+. The man has done more for prevention than your bigoted self could ever dream of. For starters, he’s developed infrastructure to help people locate post exposure treatment that reduces the chances of infection. The fact that you disagree with what he says does not mean you get to attack him as an infectious monster.

      Whitewashing the issue of disclosure to be “a way to normalize status” is the domain of people who have no fucking concept of what it means to be positive. It is not like being gay, which is an acceptable issue in most of the country. It costs people their jobs, their families and their happiness. Saying that “as a community we should trust our lovers” is fucking stupid, and its been proven to increase new infections. Grow the fuck up, stop demonizing people who are better than you and step out of your personal bareback fetish skin to think for a moment about what you’re doing.

      Jun 25, 2012 at 3:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Carlos
      Carlos

      Hello Mike,

      We are in agreement about the flaws in the Health Care system. All the more reason to give as much as we can to Obama. Obviously, anonymous sex is here to stay (let me avoid the bathhouse debate!) but even in a bathhouse it might be possible to disclose seropositivity. I know that you do not believe that a criminal sanction is the best way to reduce infection rates, but I would respond by saying that there has to be the threat of legal recourse to willful infection. The alternative devalues us all.

      Todd, it is hard to respond to you but I will try. Sean Strubb has been admirable in fighting for treatment for HIV positive individuals, and I hope that he will refocus his efforts on universal testing and encouraging a culture of disclosure. I am aware of the enormous difficulties of being HIV positive and have no desire to demonize you. I only ask you to disclose your status to a potential sexual partner. It is not too much to ask. We are in this fight together. Carlos.

      Jun 25, 2012 at 4:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sean Strub
      Sean Strub

      Carlos,

      I urge you to review the research and see where you can find support for the suggestion that these statutes will do anything to reduce HIV transmission. There is loads of evidence that says they do not and a growing body of evidence showing the reverse.

      There are always the civil courts for people who feel they have been wronged, misled or lied to by someone.

      In my advocacy combating HIV criminalization, I point out that it is important to recognize that there very often is a wrong inflicted and we must not ignore that fact. But how to address such a wrong is the question that is so difficult to address. If we address it with criminal sanctions, we are ultimately making the problem worse, making it more difficult to disclose, discouraging testing and compounding stigma.

      You say it is “not too much to ask” that people with HIV disclose their status and you make no consideration of the behaviors in which such persons engage, whether or not there was risk involved or whether you think it is “too much to ask” to expect people to protect themselves instead of having unprotected sex with people of whom they don’t even inquire as to their HIV status. I don’t think the obligation goes all one way or the other, it is a shared obligation. But the way the law is, it is a punitive only to the person with HIV.

      We know that many of the prosecutions are revenge cases or resulting from a relationship gone bad. We know that many of them result from an honest miscommunication. A survey POZ conducted–to which 2,000 people with HIV responded–indicated that 28% of people who responded had an experience where they genuinely and honestly thought they disclosed, but later they found out the partner didn’t understand them to having disclosed.

      There also are cases where someone shows a reckless disregard. Perhaps not a malicious intent to harm others, but a callous lack of concern. How are those cases to be handled? They are what is difficult to address in public policy and criminal law.
      In many of these cases, the most salient disease present is not a viral one, but a mental illness, compounded by addiction or other issues. I think they are best addressed through the public health system–every state grants tremendous authority to public health officials to take measures to intervene when someone poses an imminent threat to themselves or others–rather than prosecute them as criminals.

      But when a legislative body does deem criminal sanctions necessary, I think they should keep four factors in mind:

      1) The intent (I’ve heard no one suggest that a malicious intent to harm shouldn’t be subject to prosecution, but that’s not what 99%+ of these cases are about);
      2) the degree of risk actually present;
      3) the harm incurred, if any; and
      4) to the extent they impose criminal penalties for failing to disclose, they must be consistent and treat “like harms alike”, meaning you can’t just create HIV-specific statutes.

      Finally, in terms of your comment and others implying that I don’t support disclosure or haven’t contributed to creating “a culture of disclosure”, I’m not sure what planet you’re living on. I’ve long been in favor of people knowing their status, back since I created the very first fundraising mailing for Project Inform where on the envelope we put “There are two ways to find out: 1) Get Tested or 2) Get sick”, and a few years later when I fought for home access testing because, in part, it would preserve an anonymous testing option (something that is virtually gone today). I’ve taken exception from the idea that a positive result automatically means someone should be on treatment, but that’s another discussion.

      I have also been exceptionally active in creating the culture of disclosure you cite, including perhaps most importantly the founding of POZ magazine which sought to create a safer space for people to disclose.

      But at the same time I know how difficult and dangerous disclosure can be for many people, especially those who are deeply closeted, in relationships where they are at risk of violence from a partner, or losing their job, housing or custody, etc. It is easy for others to say things like “what’s the big deal, just disclose!” but if they haven’t lived it they don’t know what they’re talking about. There’s loads of research on the issues and complexities involved in disclosure if you’re interested.

      We can pursue prevention of HIV or prosecution of those with HIV, but we can’t do both.

      Jun 25, 2012 at 5:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lifer
      Lifer [Different person #1 using similar name]

      I read the NY Times article about the new kit being approved & it states that “Getting an infected person onto antiretroviral drugs lowers by as much as 96% the chance that he or she will transmit to someone else the virus.”.

      While 96% is indeed a nice number, 4% is not inconsequential & it’s certainly not zero. AND, the entire sentence hinges on the very important qualifier “AS MUCH AS”. So, contrary to what you believe, your viral loads are detectable in the best case scenario and very detectable in less than best case scenario, so disclosure to potential partners is a must.

      That’s what science says.

      Jul 4, 2012 at 4:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tom
      Tom

      @Lifer: That study examined whether the person was ON DRUGS, not whether the drugs were working. When we check to make sure the drugs are working, the rate of transmission is not observed.

      Jul 5, 2012 at 3:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • George C. O'Connor
      George C. O'Connor

      @Well: “I got the goods on you! I got the goods on you!” That was what one rumoring vicious queen said to me and spread around when the bastard decided I had syphilis over 25 years ago. No, I didn’t, but that was entirely beside the point. What if it had been “HIV”? The consequences would have been a whole lot more severe.

      Jul 17, 2012 at 12:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

    Add your Comment

    Please log in to add your comment

    Need an account? Register It's free and easy.



  • QUEERTY DAILY

     


    POPULAR ON QUEERTY


    FROM AROUND THE WEB

    Copyright 2014 Queerty, Inc.
    Follow Queerty at Queerty.com, twitter.com/queerty and facebook.com/queerty.