‘I lost my retirement, my career, my home’: the Americans imprisoned for being HIV-positive

Source: theguardian.com 12/1/22

Thirty-three states maintain laws tied to exposure or transmission, many developed long before the illness was understood

Robert Suttle was 30 when he was arrested and imprisoned for the felony of “intentional exposure to the Aids virus”. He had met the man at a gay club on New Year’s Eve 2007 and they had quickly begun a relationship.

Suttle says he disclosed his status as HIV-positive to his partner immediately. However, when the couple separated a few months later, the man pressed charges claiming that Suttle had not disclosed his status. Suttle now views this as “retaliation” over the breakup.

Despite the fact Suttle was on treatment that brought his viral load low enough that he could not transmit HIV to another person, Louisiana police arrested him at his workplace and he was sentenced to six months in prison. The Louisiana law – like many across the US – focused on exposure and not transmission and did not require actual transmission for a conviction to occur.

“The data shows that Black transgender women and Black and brown men having sex with men are the two groups these laws disproportionately effect,” says Brown. Before Nevada updated its laws in 2021, for example, 28% of people living with HIV were Black, whereas 46% of convictions for HIV-related laws were against Black people. As of 2022, Black women are 290 times more likely to be on the registry for an HIV conviction than white men. Ten states also have laws specifically targeting sex workers, turning a prostitution charge – often a misdemeanor – into a felony for people living with HIV.

Read the full article


Spreading HIV Is Against the Law in 37 States – With Penalties Ranging Up To Life in Prison [usnews.com 9/22/21]


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At first glance, this article appears to be about HIV and not the registry. The article is relevant because the possibility of having exposed another to the virus is a sex crime in many states that lands people on the registry.

This article is just another data point regarding the absurdity of registries, particularly given the patchwork of state laws. Some states require a person entering the state to register if that person was required to register another jurisdiction. This is regardless of whether the conviction offense was even unlawful in the receiving state.

Registration laws are not the product of analytical, data-based analyses into reducing harm to society. They are the result of ignorance, moral panic and political opportunism. I don’t know of any politician who who has run for office on a platform of being rational on crime. It is much easier to pummel a despised group to generate fear and appear tough. During Jim Crowe it was blacks, before the Stonewall riots it was gays, then it became drug users, and now it is sex offenders.

‘I LOST MY RETIREMENT, MY CAREER, MY HOME’ And My Health and am currently imprisoned in my own mind doing 30 years in a life sentence

I was HIV- POZ and put on the Reg. MW do you know anyone, male or Fem or non-conforming. I am STILL on The Reg in CALI since 1982.
Where’s the exit my friends, I DID NOT, let it make it clear, I did what the above person did reveal to every partner BEFORE and used condoms, I don’t kiss by the way, don’t like dirty mouths being in the Med Field At That Time (Career-lost THAT TOO). not much diff but,…STILL on Reg and STILL being punished and still NOT ALLOWED to donate blood, don’t want to since of the Risks, but almost unreadable in testing.

I feel for him/his, buy my retirement is gone and I am 63! Here comes sixty-five.
OH did I mention? I haven’t been to attain any Employment due to both STATUS and a WONDERFUL Website for all to See?!!!!