|Minister of Health and leader of the Law committee|
As “crumbs to the poor” they have proposed to raise the level for when the law should be used against people living with HIV. But in my experience, it's little comfort in this.
I've been told that with this new penal code, I would never have been prosecuted? I'm not convinced. One of the things we'll have to fight the prosecutor about in my upcoming trial, is how they came to the conclusion that my actions where (and still are considered as) intentional negligence? When professionals within the same justice system can interpret one single action in so different ways as they have in my case, why should we feel safer with the committee's new “reckless behavior”? Justice is not mathematically science, it's subjective interpretations.
Proposing a new penal code (even though they have “softened” it), means that the majority of the committee and their followers must have a complete trust in the justice system, including police investigators, prosecutors and judges to be without any prejudice against people living with HIV and their “true” attention when having sex.
The majority of the committee still reviews the risk of transmission as a punishable act of behavior. Believing it will have an influence to how people living with HIV conduct their sex life in a safer way. They are suggesting that the penal code should apply when you expose two or more people to the risk of infection or if you are found to have had a reckless behavior. The exceptions that should exempt from criminal responsibility includes: having your partner consent in the presence of health care personnel or when proper infection control measures have been taken (like use of condom with sexual intercourse) and practicing “safer sex”.
The committee has chosen to dismiss advices from UN, UNAIDS and other international organization about not criminalizing the risk of transmission, because the lack of substantial research. Instead they argue that a continuous criminalization is in compliance with peoples general feelings of justice. Neither do they find medical treatment sufficient enough to exempt from criminal liability?
I am not a lawyer. Nor am I a doctor or in any other way academically educated to call myself an expert, when it comes to HIV. I just happens to live with it. But others more skilled than me have made some interesting comments to the Report, like:
Law Professor Matthew Weait:
Gus Cairns at NAM aidsmap:
Edwin J. Bernard at HIV Justice Network:
Interview with Kim Fangen, one of the Committee members:
To put it in to perspective. I visited my HIV specialized doctor a couple of weeks ago to talk about my latest blood samples. After seeing him I had to visit a nurse to agree on when to do my next sample.
This takes place in the Infection Department of the University Hospital of Oslo, where all the people in need of medical treatment and many newly infected gets their HIV-guidance.
On her table among a lot of different brochures I find the same brochure about men who have sex with men and how to practice “safer sex” to avoid STD's and HIV, that I picked up when I first got my diagnose.
I found the page where it explains how oral intercourse can be practiced as long as it don't involve any cum. I put it in front of her and said something like:
-Why are you still giving out this one? You know by now that this information is illegal according to Norwegian law and the public prosecutors. I know that the advices given by medical staff and the law sometimes differs, but is it not time for you people to start talking to each other?
Even if I should get acquitted at my trial in February 2013, two peoples life have been changed forever. And with it friendships, family and work. It might not be important to the greater good of the society, but it sure as hell should be important to everybody living with HIV or in the danger zone of getting it.