STD DISCLOSURE and INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY
(by: Paul D. Goree 2014 PHXAZ)
In our advance society, it is sometime believed that technology has the capability to resolve all our societal problems. We look to technology as the answer of our deeds. A co-dependence upon technology especially that within the medical field, can be a huge danger: as some unwillingly response to social medical threats, casually. This is particularly true of STD (Sexual Transmitted Diseases). STD’s are just as dangerous and transmittable as in the past. Although medical pharmaceutical advances has help maintain and cure, many STD’s. A great threat of transmission still exist. Not all STD’s are curable. STD’s such as HIV, Syphilis, HPV, herpes simplex, and hepatitis C are a few STD’s that are not curable, with high infection rates.
When considering incurable STD’s such as HIV and Hepatitis C; it is equally important to consider the state legal statues that criminalize the transmission of these diseases between people. Many states have criminalize statues that range in the penalties imposed by the act.
In the state of Arizona, the law does not explicitly criminalize transmitting STD’s, nor does it specifically address exposing someone to such a disease. Arizona law specifically states that in order to be convicted of an STD crime you must knowingly expose someone else to an infectious or contagious disease. The Arizona criminal STD law also requires that you exposure to a contagious or infectious disease must occur in a public place or thoroughfare. If the exposure takes place in a private setting and does not expose the public to danger no crime has been committed.
California Health and Safety Code states that “any person who exposes another to HIV by engaging in unprotected sexual activity (anal or vaginal intercourse without a condom), when the infected person knows at the time of the unprotected sex that he or she is infected with HIV, has not disclosed his or her HIV-positive status, and acts with the specific intent to infect the other person with HIV, is guilty of a felony.” The law clarifies that “a person’s knowledge of his or her HIV-positive status, without additional evidence, is not sufficient to prove specific intent.”
Michigan law criminalizes nondisclosure, stating that if a person has been diagnosed with HIV and knows that he or she is infected and “engages in sexual penetration with another person without having first informed the other person that he or she has acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome related complex or is HIV infected, is guilty of a felony.”
In Alabama (code 22-11A21), not disclosing STD’s and engaging in sexual activities whereby exposure or transmission occurs; is a Class C misdemeanor.
In Georgia, A person with knowledge that he/she is HIV positive who knowingly 1) engages in sexual intercourse or any sexual act involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another person without prior disclosure of HIV status 2) shares hypodermic needles 3) offers or consents to perform sexual intercourse with another person for money without disclosing HIVstatus 4) solicits another person to perform submit to an act of sodomy without disclosure of HIV status 5) donates blood, blood products, other body fluids, or any body organ or body part without disclosing HIV status to the person drawing blood or collecting body parts or fluid, is guilty of a felony.
In Illinois, Any person knowing that he/she is HIV positive who 1) engages in intimate contact another, 2) transfers, donates or provides his or her blood, tissue, semen, organs, or other potentially infectious body fluids for transfusion, transplantation, insemination or other administration to another, 3) dispenses, delivers, exchanges, sells or in any other way transfers to another any non-sterile intravenous or intramuscular drug paraphernalia, is guilty of a felony.
In Nevada, A person who has received actual notice that he/she tested positive for HIV and intentionally, knowingly or willfully engages in conduct that is intended or likely to transmit the disease to another person is guilty of a class B felony. A person who works as a prostitute who tests positive for HIV and continues to engage in prostitution is guilty of a Category B felony. Affirmative defense when other person knew of infection, knew exposure could result and consented.
In Texas, the following case sums up the disclosure laws. Weeks v. State (1992, Tex App Eastland) 834 SW2d 559, petition for discretionary review ref (Oct 14, 1992) (Upholding attempted murder conviction of HIV positive defendant who spat twice in face of prison guard was supported by evidence where record showed that (1) defendant knew he was HIV positive, (2) defendant had stated that he was going to take as many with him as he could, (3) defendant believed that he could kill victim by spitting on him, and (4) experts had not entirely ruled out possibility of transmitting HIV through saliva.).
In Washington, A person is guilty of assault in the first degree if he or she, with intent to inflict great bodily harm, administers, exposes, or transmits to another the human immunodeficiency virus.
Katie E. Mosack and Julianne M. Serovich, recent journal article-REASONS FOR HIV DISCLOSURE OR NON-DISCLOSURE TO CAUSAL SEXUAL PARTNERS. Their work details the individual responsibility of the person infected and the person not infected. It suggest that with our modern medical advancement, the rational behind disclosure is altered. Mosack and Serovich state:
“…For example, some evidence suggests that many feel invulnerable to the risk of HIV infection (Ferguson & Frankis, 2001; Misovich, Fisher, & Fisher, 1999). This, in turn, may affect the attention paid to safer sexual behaviors. Diminishing the spread of HIV is clearly an important public health matter, and understanding sexual relationships, especially of gay men, is one pivotal aspect of HIV prevention efforts. An important phenomenon related to male sexual behavior that has been only minimally investigated is disclosure of HIV status to casual sexual partners. Such disclosure is important because it permits partners to be included in the decision-making process in either allowing or not allowing unsafe behavior to occur. Additionally, early diagnosis of HIV infection in asymptomatic individuals is increasingly important because it allows those exposed to make choices about their own testing and risky behaviors. Do HIV-positive gay men share their serostatus with sexual partners? Rates of reported disclosure have varied and in some studies, rates have been remarkably low. For example, although Hays et al. (1993) reported 98% of their sample disclosed to lovers/partners, other studies have reported disclosure rates to sexual partners of 89% (Schnell et al., 1992)… For example, researchers have reported the likelihood of disclosure decreased in direct proportion to the number of partners (Marks et al., 1991). Similarly, Perry et al. (1994) reported individuals were less likely to inform casual partners than steady partners of their HIV status. Such research is important in order to assess the rate of disclosure among sexual partners. This research has indicated that there may be an important lapse in disclosure to casual sexual partners.”
ACLU. State Criminal Statues of HIV Transmission. ACLU 2008. Retrieved from https://www.aclu.org/files/images/asset_upload_file292_35655.pdf
Chow, Andrew Esq. What Does Your State’s HIV Disclosure Law Require? Find Law Blogger. March 2012. Retrieved from http://blogs.findlaw.com/blotter/2012/03/what-does-your-states-hiv-disclosure-law-require.html
Mosack E. Katie, Serovich M. Julianne. Reason For Hiv Disclosure or Non-Disclosure To Causal Sexual Partners .NBCI AIDS Educ Prev. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2006 January 6. Published in final edited form as: AIDS Educ Prev. 2003 February; 15(1): 70–80. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1325221/
Katie E. Mosack and