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U.S. needs new HIV laws

/ Extramarital Affairs News / archive / 13th nov / U.S. needs new HIV laws

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U.S. needs new HIV laws

USC is excellent when it comes to encouraging sexually active students to use protection. Both the Student Health Center and resident advisers in the freshman dorms hand out free condoms to any student who takes the responsibility of protecting themselves. And lately, world news has offered everyone yet another reason to practice safe sex.

A London man was convicted for knowingly infecting two lovers with HIV. His partners, both women in their 30s, were virtually given death sentences by his actions. As for the man, he could spend years in jail for having unprotected sex while possessing a fatal STD.

This case was the first of its kind in Great Britain, and many believe that this action will set precedent for prosecuting people who knowingly spread sexually transmitted diseases. However, a little known fact is that America already has a law in place that will convict people who do the exact same thing.

According to the HIV Criminal Law and Policy Project, 24 states have adopted laws that criminalize exposure or transmission of HIV under certain circumstances. California is one of these states.

In 1998, our state enacted a law that made the act of intentionally exposing someone to AIDS a felony offense. Although prosecution for this crime is rare, the law is necessary.

After all, statistics should be enough to scare any sexually active USC student into wandering through the Health Center toward the condom distribution station. According to the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amFAR), in 2001, almost 42 million people globally were living with some form of the virus. And in that same year, 5 million people were infected and 3 million died from AIDS.

To make matters worse, a nationwide survey of 1,397 HIV-positive men and women found that 13 percent had unprotected intercoursethe riskiest for HIV transmissionwithout disclosing their infection to partners who did not have the virus.

Many people may have heard all of this before. After all, in the heyday of the emergence HIV awareness (late 1980s and early 1990s), there was ample publicity and nationwide concern. However, in today's society, many people do not realize that this disease is raging.

Some call it an epidemic. Some call it a plague. Worldwide, it's the fourth biggest killer. Granted, this is more of a problem in other countries, but that's no reason for America to turn away.

My question is simple. Only 24 states have laws that prosecute people for knowingly transmitting HIV. Why not all 50? There should not be any reason why people are not held liable for a transmission of fatality.

When people know they have a deadly sexually transmitted disease and then proceeds to have unprotected sex, it should be punishable as homicide. With the consciences of these people set aside, what they are doing is dastardly. It undoubtedly deserves prosecution.

California should be admired for having this law in place for the past four years. As little used as it might be, it is necessary.

Take the case of Ronald Gene Hill, 46, who was indicted and convicted for knowingly spreading HIV to multiple sexual partners. Hill, a former San Francisco health commissioner, lied about his HIV-positive status to sexual partners and convinced them to have unprotected sex. This is much like the London man recently convicted, Mohammed Dica, 38. Both men not only lied about having the disease, they also convinced partners to have unprotected sex.

In the case of Dica, he told women that he had undergone a vasectomy so they had nothing to worry about. Ironic that the women's worries were surrounding an unwanted pregnancy, not an unwanted fatal disease.

"Whether the allegations are true or not, the fact of the matter is that people living with the virus have a responsibility to their fellow citizens and their sex partners to make sure they both inform their partners of their HIV status as well as to take the necessary precautions," said James Loyce, director of the San Francisco Public Health Department's AIDS Office, in a September San Francisco Chronicle article.

Loyce couldn't have stated it better. It may be a futile attempt to convince Americans not to have extramarital or premarital intercourse, but it shouldn't be futile to convince them to protect themselves, USC students included.

No one is invincible, and no one wants to be in the position of having his or her life expectancy substantially lowered in exchange for unprotected sex with a knowing predator.

Americans should take it upon themselves to use protection, and lawmakers in the remaining 26 states that lack prosecution for knowing transmission of HIV should get in gear.

Full credit for this news article goes to: Daily Trojan Online

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