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Friday, April 6th 2007

Yet More Of HIV As Assault

All across the world it feels like we’re seeing the criminalization of reckless behavior by HIV+ patients. The most recent story comes from the UK (via Drudge) but you might remember stories from Canada and even from here in the U.S.

From Edinburgh,

An Italian chef who handed his lover a “death sentence” when he recklessly infected her with HIV and hepatitis C was jailed for nine years yesterday.

Giovanni Mola, 38, who claimed to have had 200 lovers, refused to wear condoms after starting a relationship with the woman in Edinburgh in 2003. He had been found to have the viruses three years earlier but did not tell his new partner, who said she was a virgin.

Judge Lord Hodge told Mola at the High Court in Glasgow: “What you did to Miss X was chillingly callous and showed utter indifference to her welfare.”

In any case the guy fled to Italy and had to be extradited. I’m surprised there wasn’t more of a rumpus over the extradition considering the controversy over HIV prosecutions.

We have the typical controversy. I however, don’t buy this particular argument,

Aids charities criticised the prosecution and the nine-year sentence given to Mola. Debo-rah Jack, chief executive of the National Aids Trust, said: “The National Aids Trust does not condone Giovanni Mola’s actions in recklessly transmitting HIV to Miss X and strongly advises all people living with HIV to protect sexual partners from infection. However, it is important to understand that prosecuting people for reckless transmission of HIV is actually undermining efforts to stop the spread of HIV.

“Stigma and discrimination around HIV is increasing as people living with HIV are cast as criminals, making it even more difficult for them to tell other people. We are particularly concerned at the severity of the sentence. Sending Giovanni Mola to prison is not the way to deal with the HIV epidemic in Scotland and is likely to only make it worse.”

We should let those who are truly reckless get off so that those who don’t want to be reckless, aren’t shamed into not telling their partners? What? Take some personal responsibility.

There might be arguments about Miss X’s free choice in this situation, but halting prosecutions out of some desire not to shame HIV infected people? For some pragmatic dream of “enabling” them to communicate their disease status to their partners? No way.