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. 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.
following text will be helpful along with any personal stories of
yourself or someone you know to make the point with the legislators.
PLEASE include them if possible.
current HIV Criminalization Law in the state of Iowa (709C), a person
may be convicted of HIV transmission even though 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.
It is the lack of distinction between intentional transmission 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.