Friday, October 24, 2008

HIV/AIDS: Another arrest and court case

On the back of the two recent high-profile cases I talked about earlier in the week... we apparently are in the mood to criminalize sex for HIV-positive persons:

A gay disc jockey in Raleigh originally convicted of violating HIV infection regulations in August has been placed on house arrest after admitting he broke probation orders in early October.

On Sept. 6, Q-Notes reported that Joshua Waldon Weaver, 23, who works in clubs in Raleigh and Wilmington, pleaded guilty to charges that he failed to disclose his HIV-positive status and engaged in unprotected sex with three people. Weaver was given a suspended jail sentence and placed on probation. The terms of his probation ordered Weaver to use protection when engaging in sexual activity.

About two weeks ago Weaver was arrested after Wake County Public Health officials contacted his probation officer with information that he had possibly violated court orders by having sex without a condom. Assistant District attorney Boz Zellinger told The News & Observer that health officials became aware of the DJ’s violation after he contracted another sexually transmitted disease that could have been prevented by the use of a condom.

Weaver could have faced 40 days in jail for his most recent violation, but District Court Judge Jacqueline Brewer instead sentenced him to six months of electronically-monitored house arrest. He will not be allowed to leave his father’s house except for probation-approved employment. Brewer also ordered
Weaver to undergo a psychological evaluation.If Weaver breaks his probation again, he will face up to 25 days in jail and prosecutors will ask for a two-year quarantine in a state prison hospital.“His behavior hasn’t changed,” Zellinger told the Raleigh newspaper after the hearing. “We’re trying to address the callousness his actions have demonstrated.”

Zellinger added, “It’s not a witch hunt. It’s a desire to change his
behavior to benefit the community.”
(from Q-Notes, a gay mag from the Carolinas')

I'm curious about the law in North Carolina.

There are some great discussions going on, at the Q-Notes site, as well as on and on Joe.My.God. I wanted, instead of talking myself (you can read my comments on, to post some other people's reactions. What do you think?

Well Trevor,the truth is that he needs to be plastered on billboards across the nation. Don’t you want your friends and family members to know who he is when they see him? Well, I do. Maybe one of your close loved ones will bring him home for dinner after dating him a significant amount of time before meeting the family. LOL. GET REAL AND FACE REALITY!!!! He’s sick and he wants to take all of us with him. Maybe you want to join him or are you already in the group. Where’s your picture?
(from Q-Notes)

Trevor & Chris: HIV is a communicable disease, correct? So is TB, correct?

What about all those folks quaranteened for TB? Does the government have the right to tell those people to stay in their homes?

Does the government have the right to prevent the spread of a communicable disease?
(from Q-Notes)

imageofman - I have problems with quarantines but generally agree with them for airborne diseases. This is not the case with HIV. HIV can not be contracted accidentally(mother to child is an exception) . If you have sex, HIV and other std’s are part of the risk you take. If you’re worried about HIV decide for yourself how worried you are and then make your choices. To be PERFECTLY safe don’t have sex, to be safer sleep with one person you trust, to be even safer always use a condom. The cost/ benefit is up to you. I don’t care who this guy sleeps with and I don’t care if he lies to his partners - it’s not my business or yours!
(from Q-Notes)

Hideous....I agree whole-heartedly, Trevor.

I also can't get past the point that he got "caught" because "he
contracted another sexually transmitted disease that could have been prevented by the use of a condom".....first of all it's a bit presumptuous that an STD infection is immediately proof of unprotected anal sex when most every infection can also be transmitted orally....or is it the state of NC's position that HIV+ people must use condoms for oral AND anal sex? (which isn't, to my knowledge, really in keeping with safer sex messaging out there coming from most anyone who knows anything). And for that matter if STD's are included in this code they're using to convict him, then do they now do partner tracing to find the person who gave him this most recent STD and arrest that person, too? Talk about barriers to accessing testing and care? Or participating in a partner notification process to keep your sexual partners healthy?

It's also particularly problematic that a queer publication would run with the story in this's bad enough that queer men and HIV+ men get defiled by the mainstream...but to have our own community legitimizing it! *barf*

We live in a scary scary country!

Why not just make him wear an electronically-monitored chastity belt?
(from Joe.My.God.)

Hmm. Two-year quarantine in a state hospital. Nice. What's "appropriate?" How about a "penis-ectomy"? Orchidectomy? Hormonal castration?LOVES me those Southern states!!!Are there normally two willing partners in any sex act, or just the "dangerous" one?
(from Joe.My.God.)

This guy isn't bright enough to care that he is walking around with a loaded gun in his pocket, one that cannot be taken from him and the worst thing that can happen is that the state will clothe, feed and house him at the expense of taxpayers for two years. At the end of that time, he'll probably get out hornier than a fifteen year old and start doing damage all over again. WOW! How about making him work in a long term care facility with people dying of AIDS and/or in a home care capcity for someone who is housebound due to the disease? If re-education is the key to reform, then please put this stoopid motherfucker in a situation that promotes learning.
(from Joe.My.God.)

here we go again with the long slide down the slippery slope. You could sneeze in an elevator and pass along the influenza virus which can have lethal (albeit rare) complications. People aren't likely to give up breathing (and coughing) anytime soon, nor is it realistic to imagine that sex will go away. As this trend goes, along with the fear-mongering 'media-terrorism' of the hourly news cycle, there is no goal in the culture wars more sacred that criminalizing HIV. We are the victims of this dread disease. Our civil rights are not up for grabs. The irresponsible behavior of one individual does not reflect the values of our community as a whole. This must be made emphatically clear. For me I think it's much more useful to focus on near goals that are real and attainable - serosorting, for example. Advocating among all my poz friends to stay up on the latest treatment info and help them out of the debilitating depression that is so common among us long-termers would be another. I walk the walk every fucking day - and I'm not about to let some looser (no matter how cute) from Carolina define the terms my fight. I can be just as creative in name-calling as the next queen - but don't think for a moment that I am unaware of my responsibilities and good fortune.Just to wonder out loud, how many of those who excoriate poz guys with such venom have bareback videos in their porn collections? I mean, we could totally put Treasure Island out of business if we really got together and tried to. That would be do-able; turning the tide of public opinion, well, maybe someday if we survive that long.You may not see the courageous around you, nor understand the burdens carried - Whitman said it best - 'he who walks a mile without sympathy surely walks to his grave alone, dressed in his shroud.'
(from Joe.My.God.)

Ok, so, I found the NCLaw here. Fascinating law, actually. This is what it says about HIV-infected persons:
Infected persons shall:
(a) refrain from sexual intercourse unless condoms are used; exercise caution when using condoms due to possible condom failure;
(b) not share needles or syringes, or any other drug-related equipment, paraphernalia, or works that may be contaminated with blood through previous use;
(c) not donate or sell blood, plasma, platelets, other blood products, semen, ova, tissues, organs, or breast milk;
(d) have a skin test for tuberculosis;
(e) notify future sexual intercourse partners of the infection;
(f) if the time of initial infection is known, notify persons who have been sexual intercourse and needle partners since the date of infection; and,
(g) if the date of initial infection is unknown, notify persons who have been sexual intercourse and needle partners for the previous year.
That's right kids, unlike Ohio House Bill 100 which makes it illegal to have sex without disclosure (and humorously has commentary about inserting "an instrument, apparatus, or other object that is not a part of the body into the vaginal or anal cavity of another" -- that's actually really unexpected in an Ohio law), North Carolina has made it illegal for someone with HIV to ever have sex without a condom as well as notification of partners, current, past, and future.

Right to privacy, what?

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: there are two people in the room when you have sex (or more, I suppose, I'm not one that's against group sex). Everyone involved understands the risk involved with sex; to say otherwise is victimization and intellectual laziness. Gay men, I think especially, are acutely aware of the risk of HIV. If you decide to have sex without a condom -- hell, if you decide to have sex at all -- you are taking that risk yourself. Even if you don't know your partners' status.

End of discussion.

I also think it's interesting that NCLaw requires HIV-positive persons to have skin tests for TB. I mean, wow. We really don't like HIV-positive people down there, do we?

No comments: