Posted on | December 7, 2010 by Tyler Ament |
Is it wrong for someone with HIV to willfully infect another person? The answer to the question seems quite obvious, but IPPF seems to disagree. In their campaign “Criminalize Hate Not HIV” IPPF describes laws that make willful transmission of HIV to another person as too-costly, hindrances to prevention, and stigmatizing. The video promo for the campaign depicts various sexual scenes including homosexual sex (a fundamentally high-risk behavior), drug use, and prostitution. The video then ends with a shot of a mother reflecting on the hard truth that her child is now infected with HIV. A hard truth indeed and one deserving of much respect and care, but then the punch line comes: The narrator, as an image of a red ribbon on a bed comes into view, says “HIV is a virus, not a crime…criminalize hate, not HIV.”
While the fact that HIV is a virus is true, it is also true that someone who is knowingly or maliciously irresponsible with their HIV status, and infects another person with an incurable and debilitating disease should be held responsible for their actions. The Egyptian doctor that IPPF interviewed in their Behind Bars series of interviews states the same saying that irresponsible behavior which results in a car accident deserves punishment just like the failure to disclose one’s HIV status before engaging in sexual activity deserves punishment: “In the same way, if someone who knows that he is HIV positive is careless and just allows my son or my daughter to become HIV infected I would feel the same.” Hence the reason criminal laws exist to allow people who are unknowingly infected to seek some sort of justice for the wrong that they have suffered, which is a life-long if not lethal illness. Yet, IPPF overlooks these people:
The drive for criminalization of wilful transmission of HIV is proving a costly intervention – in terms of time and money spent on investigating individual’s private lives and determining the burden of proof – and seems to have had limited impact on HIV prevention.
What about the impact on quality of life and dignity for those who are unknowingly infected? IPPF goes even further in their brochure for youth, “Healthy, Happy, and Hot” which says:
Some countries have laws that violate the right of young people living with HIV to decide whether to disclose…These laws violate the rights of people living with HIV by forcing them to disclose or face the possibility of criminal charges.
Teaching young people that it is acceptable to withhold information that is vital to the life of another human being is wholly irresponsible, and is indicative of the fact that IPPF is more concerned about a sexual rights agenda than reducing HIV infection.