Yesterday, RadarOnline reported that actor Charlie Sheen could be facing up to eight years in jail after being accused of passing HIV to a male partner during sex. Under California law, it’s illegal for an HIV-positive person to engage in consensual sex without a condom if there is intent to transmit the virus.
Regardless of how you feel about Sheen, the situation once again raises questions about HIV stigma and criminalization.
According to the CDC, more than 30 U.S. states have criminal HIV transmission laws, most of which were implemented during the early years of the AIDS crisis, which punish people who knowingly — and sometimes unknowingly — expose their partners to HIV without disclosing their statuses beforehand, even if their partners do not contract the virus. Punishments can range from hefty fines, to mandating a person register as a sex offender, to as much as 25 years in prison.
Many LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS activists have been working for years to have these laws stripped from the books, arguing that they are not only outdated but unfairly target gay men and other minority groups. But it’s been a very slow process. In part because the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS still lingers, as evidenced by the response to yesterday’s reported news about Sheen.
Check out how people on Twitter have been responding to the rumors…
More people outraged about Usher giving a Women herpes then they were about Charlie Sheen giving women HIV one is murder the other isn't
— DMilli (@didimilli) July 27, 2017
Anthony @Scaramucci is what would happen if Charlie Sheen's HIV became sentient and pretended it was his asshole character from Wall Street
— choppah (@iamchoppah) July 27, 2017
We think it would be great for more celebrities were to do a health check on their souls. Imagine if #CharlieSheen became born-again?
— Christian First (@Christ1cans) July 26, 2017
getting fucked bareback by Charlie Sheen.
— Shi-Ying Loke (@mnnhasalol) July 27, 2017
— Flowtly J (@FlowtlyJ) July 27, 2017
I just read that Charlie Sheen was accused of passing HIV to his gay lover.
What a dick.
— Big Blue (@Mikaufoxy) July 26, 2017
I guess Usher and Charlie Sheen will be the new team on "Burn Notice" ???
— Triple D (@ddority69) July 27, 2017
— Censored (@Dat_Dude_Frantz) July 27, 2017