Even if you are not from Iowa, Please pass this on to anyone or any group you can to get it out to any and all sympathetic Iowans.It is amazing who the people you know may know, and every contact will make a statement to bring this reform into play.
Please forward this to anyone that you can think of so they can contact their Iowa Senators and Representatives, as the subject hits home to those dealing with HIV, Care providers, and the burden that newly diagnosed cases has on an already taxed medical system. It is a step closer to making the law and the science match up.
IN 2 weeks this is scheduled to be put up as a bill, so your support is needed immediately.
Thank you Paul Kelty 267-971-2544 I personally live in Rock Island, Illinois, but feel that this unjust law needs reform, and am doing what I can to help out with this issue, including attending Iowa Lobby Days on February 6th and 7th.
The following text will be helpful along with any personal stories that you or someone you know may have will make the point with the legislators. PLEASE include them if possible.
Under current HIV Criminalization Law in the state of Iowa (709C), a person may be convicted of HIV transmission even though transmission may not be occurring, A person with HIV engaging in safe sexual relations with a person of NON HIV status can be prosecuted under this statute. This is in contradiction to the fact that they may be following all standard medical practices for the prevention of transmission by maintaining adherence to their drug regimen and maintaining an undetectable viral load, usage of barrier methods of protection (condoms etc...) and notification of their partner that they are positive. This law puts all burden on the HIV positive individual, and creates a false sense of security amongst those who are HIV negative as they have no burden of self protection or proof. People who are HIV positive under this law can be prosecuted on the basis of their partner saying that they weren't notified even if they were and had full knowledge. Currently, there are approximately 30 individuals in the State of Iowa Penal system (another 3 died in the penal system) who have been prosecuted under this statute (many of them people who had been in long term relationships), with only 2 of those individuals intentionally transmitting the disease.
Recently, a woman in a wheelchair was arrested and arraigned under this statute for spitting on and biting an officer without breaking the skin. While she definitely deserved to be arrested for her other charges, neither spitting on the officer or the bite can transmit HIV. It is the lack of distinction between intentional transmission and and fully protective measures that needs to be reformed.The current law has a maximum 25 year sentence for ANY violation, and can often become a case of "he said, he said" or "she said, he said". The current laws rely on antiquated science and do not reflect current scientific knowledge. HIV sexually be transmitted only by unprotected anal or vaginal sex, unless other areas of the body have lesions, broken skin or bleeding present. Saliva cannot transmit HIV.
This lack of differentiation and harsh penalties makes Iowa a state with one of the highest percentages of late testers (47%). If a person does not get tested, they then have "no knowledge" of their HIV status and cannot be prosecuted. As a result, a large percentages of these people progress rapidly to a status of AIDS versus HIV+. This creates a domino effect of late testers infecting new individuals by not wanting to know their status, and creates a burden on the health care system.
The reforms to the law are pointed at decriminalization HIV exposure versus transmission. The measure seeks to reduce the responsible exposure to a misdemeanor at most, and hopefully non criminalization.
Please contact your Iowa legislature members and ask them to support this bill that should be presented in 2 weeks. I have provided a link for you to do so below.
Thank you for your time and consideration