No To Criminalization
Thank you for your contribution to HIV disclosure to sex partners.
I will not prosecute the person I contracted HIV from for the following reasons, and I encourage everyone else to think twice and not be involved in the criminalization of HIV because prosecution:
Creates a victim and perpetrator.
Reinforces, blame, shame, punishment and the need to teach someone a lesson through the justice system.
Discourages people from getting tested for HIV.
Discourages disclosure to potential sex partners.
Encourages silence on the topic of HIV with potential sex partners.
Discourages dialogue between sex partners and in general, thereby reinforcing lack of knowledge and basic facts about HIV.
Encourages silence and discourages dialogue and learning, subsequently leading to increased rates of HIV transmission.
Closes the door for further discussion of constructive ways to address disclosure.
Further marginalizes people who are already vulnerable and marginalized, which may in turn leaves them with fewer options and the likelihood of becoming involved in risky behavior.
The individual (alleged perpetrator) will suffer from stigma associated with being a criminal and sex offender, along with the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV.
Reinforces the imbalance in power dynamics which already exists with HIV- positive people in a sexual context .
Allows the general public to use criminalization as a means of screening safe sex partners, thus giving a false sense of security.
Criminalization ties up the judicial system, creating waiting lists, fewer resources and costs money where funds could be allocated on prevention.
Does not make the situation any better for either either party, in fact it makes it worse, especially if the perpetrator is contributing to the household economy or the economy in general.
Weakens the family structure by having a relative or parent of a child labeled as a criminal,with disrupted attachments, relationships, while the alleged perpetrator is incarcerated.
There are other means of working through anger, feelings of betrayal, resentment and the notion of teaching someone a lesson. These emotions do not belong in the criminal justice system.
Criminalization does not address the underlying complex societal factors contributing to HIV, it detracts from this process.
Research indicates that criminalization does in fact increase rates of HIV transmission.
Criminalization of HIV non disclosure creates sensational news items for the media, in many forms, to distort and in turn reinforce stigma and fear.
Reinforces the association of HIV with criminalization and inhibits the promotion of HIV as a chronic manageable illness.
I will continue to encourage people to take responsibility for their own sexual health and to assume everyone is HIV- positive until further notice.I will not prosecute. I will not be a witness for the prosecution or involved in a witch hunt to find others who are deemed victims in non disclosure of HIV by a sex partner.