Monday, October 20, 2008

HIV/AIDS: Two big cases begin this week

It's strange, as there has been little talk about the criminalization of HIV infection. For years, it was always put under a "felony assault with a deadly weapon" (lol -- the penis as a deadly weapon... who doesn't feel that way about their own manhood? if looks could kill...), but there are two big cases starting this week that should spark the debate up again.

One from the Netherlands that has become, infamously, known as the HIV case:
A trial concerning a bizarre crime - now known in the Netherlands as ‘the HIV case' - started in the northern Dutch city of Groningen today. Three homosexual men are alleged to have drugged and then deliberately infected at least 14 other men with HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS.

Watch out, girls. Sex parties are fun, but not worth your life over.

And, closer to home, there's one in Hamilton, Ontario (which hosts a sister court of the local ISQCCBE):
A man facing first-degree murder charges for allegedly spreading the virus that causes AIDS will see his case go before a jury Monday in what's believed to be the first prosecution of its kind in Canada.

Johnson Aziga, 52, has spent five years in pre-trial custody while cycling through several legal teams.

Two women died after allegedly having unprotected sex with him.

"It's going to be a landmark case," Aziga's lawyer, Davies agambiire, said in an interview.

"This is the first time that a Canadian is prosecuted for alleged murder through the alleged dissemination or transmission of the HIV virus."

Locally, knowingly having sex -- protected or otherwise -- with someone without disclosing your HIV status is a felony and is famously known as "House Bill 100" (though it passed into law in 2000). It is not used much, and, like importuning, is generally tacked onto other indictments like prostitution. Personally, I think this kind of bill (in the Ohio incarnation) is silly and defers responsibility. There are two people in a room that choose to have sex together, usually equally aware of the risk either is taking. You choose to take that risk when you have sex. Period.

Two interesting things to keep an eye on this week.

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