Right now, an HIV positive man is in a Texas prison, serving a 35 year sentence for spitting on someone. In Michigan, an HIV positive man was charged for not disclosing his status under a bio-terrorism statute. And just weeks ago, Nadja Benaissa, an HIV positive German pop star, barely escaped prison when a judge gave her a suspended sentence for not disclosing to her sexual partners.
Many of us have a friend who was infected by someone who lied about their status or didn't disclose, and these infuriating instances make me want to see those people "pay" for what they did. But the more I have learned about the criminalization of HIV status non-disclosure, the more I am convinced these laws are applied badly and actually do more harm than good. If I don't get tested, I can't be prosecuted for not telling you I'm positive, right?
At the 2010 Gay Men's Health Summit, I spoke with POZ Magazine founder Sean Strub about criminalization. Sean is the force behind the Positive Justice Project, which advocates against HIV criminalization, and he does a terrific job explaining the harm to public health created by criminalization laws.
(Watch video interview with Sean Strub after the jump.)