News

Czech Republic - alarming developments
Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - 16:29 | 2016 | Czech republic

2016, January: Prague's Public Health Authority initiated criminal investigations against 30 gay men living with HIV that had been diagnosed with sexually transmitted infection (STI) during the previous year.

The Public Health Authority appear to believe that since these men acquired an STI this is proof that they must have practiced condomless sex and have therefore violated Sections 152 and 153 of the Czech Criminal Code, which a 2005 Supreme Court ruling confirmed, could be used to prosecute any act of condomless sex (including oral sex) by a person living with HIV as "spread of infectious diseases."

This is an alarming development.
For more information on this go to the 
HIV Justice Network website.
To sign on to a Change.org peption protesting against this go 
here

California - 'Outing' of the HIV Status of the actor Charlie Sheen
Tuesday, November 17, 2015 - 14:42 | 2105 | California

As Edwin Bernard reports...'And so it begins. Sigh. As my esteemed colleagues Scott Burris and Catherine Hanssens note, Mr Sheen is much more likely to be sued under civil law (where the burden of proof is much lower and because he has money) than prosecuted under criminal law. This is because in California unless malicious intent to harm can be proven (which is extremely rare, and even harder to prove), potential or perceived HIV 'exposure' is only a misdemeanour (not a felony) with a maximum of six months in prison. However, it appears that Mr Sheen is on successful treatment with an undetectable viral load. This is good both for his health and for his sexual or needle-sharing partners. He cannot 'expose' (or infect) anyone with an undetectable viral load. However, this well-established scientific fact is not a defence under most US HIV-specific laws, which primarily focus on HIV non-disclosure as the 'crime'. (FYI, this will be my only Charlie Sheen-related FB post today. There are already some excellent posts from US colleagues highlighting the many different ways that Mr Sheen's forced HIV outing is problematic and stigmatising for him, his former partners and everyone living with HIV, such as: http://oneangryqueer.blogspot.co.uk/…/hiv-allyship-charlie-… and http://www.hivequal.org/…/fact-checking-the-media-on-charli…)

Cyprus in last century about HIV ...
Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 20:09 | 2015 | Cyprus

A hotel  in Paphos which allegedly denied hospitality to a British HIV-positive tourist from the UK was within its rights to do so, the Cyprus Hotels Association (PASYXE) said yesterday.

It cited an archaic piece of legislation that allows hoteliers to deny service to anyone suffering from a contagious disease.

In a statement, PASYXE cites articles 55 and 49 of the Regulations on Hotels that stipulates among others that any hotel can deny service to a person “suffering from a contagious or other disease that may pose a danger to others”, though it did not say that was what had happened in this case.

The legal situation regarding the criminalisation of HIV  is one which is from the last century. It can be found  here . Both the regulation and the law need changing 

Ugandan judge makes distinction between forceful and consensual sodomy
Wednesday, September 9, 2015 - 10:12 | 2105 | UGANDA

In a groundbreaking ruling, Chief Magistrate Flavia Nabakooza today convicted ex-football manager, Chris Mubiru, of forceful sodomy, but acquitted him of sex with another male because that was consensual.

Chris Mubiru: guilty of gay rape, not guilty of consensual gay sex.

Chris Mubiru: guilty of gay rape, not guilty of consensual gay sex

Hasty commentators seem to have missed the significance of Magistrate Nabakooza’s ruling and have rushed to condemn it.

They should step back and think through the verdict’s overall import.

You might recall that Chris Mubiru was/isthe football manager whose filmed sex acts with boys  surfaced on the front pages of the tabloid press. He fled the country to Britain but then returned a couple of months later to face trial for his alleged crimes.

In today’s landmark ruling, Chris Mubiru was convicted of having drugged a one Emmanuel Nyanzi and then having forceful sex with him. But he was acquitted of a second charge of sex with George Oundo on the grounds that the sex with Oundo was consensual.

The judge thus made a distinction between consensual and non-consensual sodomy which is critical to be made.

This ruling should be applauded for the forward-looking precedent it sets.

Jailing of gay men in Senegal poses setback to HIV fight in Africa
Friday, August 28, 2015 - 10:43 | 2015 | Senegal

From a Rueters report August 26th 2015: 

It took less than a minute for a panel of judges in Senegal to sentence seven men to six months in prison for homosexuality last week, but campaigners say the harm to the African nation's anti-HIV efforts could last much longer.

Senegal, a Muslim country regarded as a pillar of democracy in turbulent West Africa, is one of about 30 African states with anti-homosexuality laws. Yet the country of 14 million people also prides itself on its vigorous, and successful, anti-HIV efforts.

Campaigners warned that Friday's verdict, based on a police discovery of condoms and lubricant in the house where the men were arrested, was a hammer blow to groups promoting safe sex.

Gay men's preventative efforts could now transform them into targets for authorities, campaigners said.

"We are prevented from carrying condoms. We are prevented from carrying lube," said Djamil Bangoura, president of Prudence Association, an organization promoting rights for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transsexuals (LGBT). "That's what I understood from the (trial)."

A police spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

On a 2013 visit to Senegal, U.S. President Barack Obama called for steps to make homosexuals equal before the law in Africa. President Macky Sall replied that gays were not persecuted in Senegal but that his country was not ready to decriminalize homosexuality.

Senegalese law prescribes up to five years in prison and a 1,500,000 CFA fine ($2,587) for homosexuality, says the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association’s 2015 report.

Its anti-homosexuality laws are not as severe as others in West Africa. In certain parts of Nigeria, being gay is punishable by death, while Gambia recently passed a law making 'aggravated homosexuality' - sex with minors or if you are HIV positive - punishable with life in prison.

But Neela Ghoshal, senior researcher for Human Rights Watch on LGBTI issues, said Senegal was one of a handful of countries that regularly prosecuted individuals under these laws.

"There is a disconnect between what is needed in terms of public health policy and what the government is willing to accept in terms of decriminalization," she said.

 

'SEX IS TABOO'

Senegal launched its national AIDS program in 1987, just a year after the country's first case was documented. It has since been one of the most successful nations in Africa at stemming the spread of the disease: UNAIDS estimated in 2014 that just 0.5 percent of 15 to 49 year-olds in Senegal had HIV – a fraction of the continent-wide average of 4.8 percent.

But HIV prevention among the LGBT community has long been contentious. In 2008, days after Senegal hosted the International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections, anti-HIV campaigners were briefly arrested on homosexuality charges, Human Rights Watch said.   

In Senegal, as globally, gay men are impacted by HIV at a much higher rate than the general population.

In July, the Ministry of Health issued a report saying the HIV rate among gay men in 2014 was edging lower from previous years but was still 17.8 percent.

Worryingly, the report highlighted that among 18- and 19-year-old gay men, the rate had skyrocketed to nearly 20 percent from just 5.2 percent in 2007.

Dr. Abdoulaye Wade, head of the Ministry of Health’s HIV Division, said the figures may have been distorted by more young people responding than in prior years.

But Julo, the secretary for AIDES Senegal, an association focused on LGBT rights and AIDS, said young people are ill-informed about safe sex.

"Sex is very taboo in Senegal," said Julo, who asked only to be identified by his middle name.

A doctor at the Division’s HIV office who asked to be identified only as Diop, his last name, agreed: "When people have these diseases, we call them diseases of shame."

For AIDES Senegal, decriminalization was not its main goal but reducing private discrimination in areas such as housing, employment and health.

Several people working closely with gay rights associations pointed to the influence of religion: many religious leaders say homosexuality is forbidden in the Koran.

"I would hope that ultimately, the government is able to stand up to religious leaders on these issues, because honestly the government knows better," said Ghoshal.

 

 

(Editing by Daniel Flynn and Gareth Jones)

GNP+ and HIV Justice Network release report on global advocacy against criminalisation
Wednesday, June 5, 2013 - 17:14 | 2013 | Netherlands

Today GNP+ and the HIV Justice Network released a report on criminalisation, highlighting the ceaseless struggles of advocates the world over against inappropriate HIV-related laws and prosecutions. The article and report can be found by following the link above.

Iowa lawmakers may change HIV intentional infection law
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 11:49 | 2013 | USA - Iowa

An Iowa bill to reduce penalties for HIV positive people who have sex without disclosing their condition has advanced in the state senate.

The bill would allow people who intentionally transmit the virus to their partner to be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison. That's similar to punishments for other communicable disease like Hepatitis C.

Under current law, people with HIV can face up to a 25-year prison sentence even if they didn't intend to infect someone or if their partner isn't infected.

The bill now goes to the full senate.

In South Africa, a brutal rape sparks unusual proposal
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 11:43 | 2013 | South Africa

A controversial recommendation that arose in Limpopo Province would force men accused of rape to have an HIV test and charge them with attempted murder if they test positive.

The shocking rape and murder of a 17-year-old in South Africa has politicians and police searching for solutions. But a possible new policy in one province, proposing that rapists found to have the HIV virus be charged with murder, is going too far, say some analysts.

Bill would let sex offense victims request attackers take HIV test
Wednesday, February 20, 2013 - 11:41 | 2013 | USA - Kentucky

Victims of sexual offenses, or their legal guardians, would be able to request HIV testing of their alleged attackers under a bill that passed the House Tuesday with a vote of 96-0.

PLHIV Advocacy in Nigeria stops HIV criminalisation being made law
Thursday, February 14, 2013 - 15:31 | 2013 | Nigeria

PLHIV advocates in Nigeria have effectively stopped sections of a law that would criminalise HIV exposure and transmission. During a consultation on the new Nigerian anti-HIV discrimination bill, that took place on 5 and 6 February 2013, the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) presented results and recommendations from the PLHIV Stigma Index. This and other evidence, clearly shows both the ineffectiveness of HIV criminalization laws and the potential harmful consequences of such misguided legislation.

Following the presentations the paragraph on “willful and deliberate spread of HIV” was scrapped from the anti HIV discrimination bill “An Act to make provisions for the prevention of HIV discrimination and to protect the human rights and dignity of people living with HIV and affected by AIDS and other related matters”. While the bill is still at a draft stage, it is highly unlikely the paragraph will be reinserted.

In addition, NEPWHAN advocacy ensured the bill was developed beyond its initial workplace focus to also extended the protection to people living with HIV in schools, places of worship, correctional institutions, and the society at large.

pdf Click here for the draft bill. 211.56 Kb