Mandatory HIV (Human Immuno-deficiency Virus) Disclosure
Canadians are debating whether they should put people in jail who fail to disclose their HIV status to their sexual partners. I argue this is unfair, discriminatory and counter productive.
~ Roedy (1948-02-04 age:70)
- At least be consistent. If you are going to prosecute for not revealing status, you should jail parents who refuse to vaccinate their kids. Also prosecute people who travel on busses with airborne diseases, or anyone else who actions endanger the health of others. Why just single out HIV ?
- Revealing HIV status can be dangerous. Ignorant people will attack you when you reveal your HIV+ status even if you have done nothing whatsoever to endanger them. They are afraid of water you poured, dishes you washed, getting a hug, getting a massage… They are even afraid to be in the same room. It is a bit much to make laws demanding people endanger themselves. Insisting on revealing will convince people not to get tested, bad news all round. We need some serious education to reduce the danger of revealing.
- The crazy thing is straight people have unprotected sex all the time, thinking they are immune. Young females are the fastest growing group getting infected. They figure if they have not got it so far, they must be safe. However, it is one strike and you are out. Having unprotected sex with strangers is the problem, not having protected sex with someone with HIV.
- People test negative and think they are safe. It can take 6 months for infection to show up on a test.
The best ways to prevent HIV are:
- safe sex
- limiting your partners
- taking Truvada prophylaxis.
The worst ways are:
- trusting your partner to warn you. The most dangerous people don’t know they are HIV+. They have the highest viral loads since they are not taking retrovirals. If you rely on your partners to warn you, almost certainly, you will have HIV+ within a year if you are sexually active.
- The ironic problem with a disclosure law, is it creates a false sense of security. People foolishly depend even more on disclosure, even though it almost completely ineffective.
- If you have been tested HIV+, there is a good chance you will be taking an antiretroviral cocktail. If all goes well, this will reduce your viral load to undetectable levels. In other words, it is quite unlikely you will pass on HIV. On the other hand, an untested person who is HIV+, will not be taking antiretrovirals. They will have a high viral load, and especially with the wild infectious strain. They are very likely to pass HIV.
- The practical assumption in the gay world is, if anyone has unprotected sex, they are already HIV+ or plan to soon be. Each person is responsible for his own health and safe sex practices. Relying on strangers is fool-hardy.
- I went to an HIV support group. I was the only one there in favour of disclosure. Keep that in mind if you are relying on strangers to warn you.
- Everything I have said applies primarily to one-time casual encounters. For marriages, and long term relationships, I think partners are under much greater obligation to disclose.
- In summary, punishing HIV+ people for failure to disclose has almost nothing to do with reducing the transmission of HIV. It is all about religious homophobia. It is a fig-leaf excuse to persecute homosexuals.