HIV – Spreading It a Crime? And Boomers Beware

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  • Worldwide, a number of countries are making "spreading HIV" a crime.  The problem?  Some officials feel that this move - though well intended - could undermine efforts to fight the pandemic of AIDS.  Right now the estimated number of people globally who have HIV is estimated to be 33 million.  Every year - 3 million more people are infected.


    Experts believe that this new law could result in forced testing and literally drive the epidemic underground as people attempt to hide their HIV status.  So far 58 countries have criminalized the spreading of AIDS knowingly; another 33 countries are considering similar laws.  In a country like Benin, West Africa, just exposing someone to HIV is criminal - even if the person does not contract the virus.  In Tanzania - intentional transmission is a crime with a life sentence attached.  But poor countries are not the only ones passing these laws.  In the US, 32 states have also criminalized HIV transmission.  Since the passing of these laws, thousands of people have been charged with npassing AIDS to unsuspecting individuals. 

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    In Los Angeles, a man who infected his former wife with HIV was ordered to pay her 12.5 million dollars recently.  The husband apparently had unprotected sex with 2 men prior to marrying his wife and continued to meet men on the internet and have a parallel but well-guarded secondary sex life.  All the while, he was also having unprotected sex with his wife who prior to the marriage tested negative for HIV. 


    In the UK 16 people since 2001 have been prosecuted for spreading HIV; in Canada, a mother was charged with criminal negligence and aggravated assault for passing HIV while pregnant to her baby.  The mother never informed her doctors that she was infected so she was never treated during pregnancy for the HIV.  On the one hand, maliciously spreading AIDS is certainly an offense that most feel should be punished.  But experts feel if you start to punish people across the board  - you will cause a backlash in terms of the current acceptance of HIV infected people and force many to hide their health status - not get treatment - and ultimately potentiate the spread of this pandemic.


    And let's remember that baby boomers need some counseling since many of them become widowed or divorced and "throw caution to the wind" when it comes to sexual activity.  AIDS and HIV were not concerns when they were young - nor HPV for that matter - so they tend to be "innocents" when it comes to the dangers they may very well be exposed to as they experience round two of their sexuality.  Male enhancement drugs like Viagra add to the dangerous environment that the average newly single boomer can experience.


    So boomers - beware - practice safe sex and know the health history of your partners.

Published On: November 30, 2008