Another poz man was prosecuted for non-disclosure (name redacted because there's nothing productive in parading the names and mugshots of people prosecuted for sex crimes around for everyone to see):
A gay, 23-year-old man received a suspended 45-day jail sentence, 30 months of probation and a $300 fine, plus court costs, after pleading guilty Aug. 22 to charges stemming from violations of North Carolina's public health laws relating to the spread of HIV.
******, a DJ at clubs in Raleigh and Wilmington, was accused of failing to use a condom and failure to notify sexual partners of his HIV-positive status.
And what good does this prosecution do? If he keeps it up and gets sent to prison (where, by the way, condoms are illegal), will that help anyone?
The Q-Notes article discusses state law:
When someone in North Carolina is diagnosed with HIV, he or she is required to provide the local health department with the names of those with whom they have had sexual contact. They are also given an agreement to sign that says they will practice safe sex and inform any future sexual partners of their HIV-positive status.
It's illegal under the Constitution to force someone to disclose medical information, so I suppose that's why the contract is in place. We've seen this before; often when the state wants to violate someone's Constitutional rights they simply force them to sign a consent form to that effect. I don't see a material difference between being forced to sign a consent form waiving one's rights and having those rights violated, but if no one cares, I suppose it'll keep on happening.
But what these prosecutions actually do is lull people into a false sense of security (i.e., he has to disclose, but he didn't, therefore he's negative). Even though 250,000 Americans, it is estimated, have HIV but don't know it, there are still some people who assume that their partner will disclose.
Whether or not an HIV positive person has a "moral obligation" to disclose isn't the issue here. Laws that attempt to create a sexual morality simply don't work (was there no gay sex going on in states with sodomy laws before Lawrence?). And if we want people to be more open with information, threatening to throw them in jail won't help any.
Whether or not everyone disclosed their status before sex, the disease would still spread. People don't always know that they have it, safer sex fails sometimes, and some people are willing to take big risks with their health. Positive solutions to this problem would focus on providing treatment, testing, and research instead of prosecution.
Pointing the finger at someone who passed the virus along to someone else may make someone diagnosed feel a bit better, but it doesn't do anything to prevent another infection and doesn't do anything to make going and getting tested any easier (anxiety around testing is a big problem in HIV prevention).
But that's not going to happen any time soon. We live in a culture where, if we don't like something, we make it illegal and prosecute, whether it helps or not. And until we get past that mentality, I don't see our government taking a substantial, effective, coherent, and non-stigmatizing approach to fighting this disease.