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AIDS groups go after Ontario attorney general

AIDS groups go after Ontario attorney general

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John Gerretsen has put the brakes on plans to create guidelines for HIV criminalization
A coalition of Ontario HIV/AIDS groups has launched a new phase of their campaign to compel the province’s attorney general to stop prosecuting HIV-positive Ontarians for nondisclosure.
 
The new front – a letter-writing campaign – was organized by the Ontario Working Group on Criminal Law and HIV Exposure and marks a ratcheting up of tensions between activists in Ontario’s HIV/AIDS community and Queen’s Park.
 
“There’s increasing anxiety about the intentions of the attorney general,” says AIDS Action Now member Tim McCaskell, who is also with the working group.
 
Attorney General John Gerretsen is the campaign’s main target.
 
Gerretsen has raised the ire of the HIV/AIDS community because his ministry continues to try to appeal cases involving criminal nondisclosure, especially those where there was no “significant risk” because the positive person had a low viral load or wore a condom.
 
This comes after signals from the province that legislators were looking to work with AIDS groups to establish guidelines that both sides could live with.
 
But now the province says it’s going ahead with prosecutions and is refusing to meet with any of the groups until the Supreme Court passes down two decisions.
 
“It would be premature to address prosecutorial guidelines ahead of this ruling,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Attorney General told Xtra, refusing to comment further.
 
That, for McCaskell, isn’t good enough.
 
“We’re about the law; therefore, we only need to talk to lawyers,” McCaskell says, mocking the ministry.
 
“People are appalled at the lack of responsiveness from the attorney general’s office.”
 
The working group argues that if the province isn’t interested in sitting down until the Supreme Court renders its verdicts, fine, but it should put a halt on prosecutions at the same time.
 
The two cases before the Supreme Court could have a major impact on how every province deals with nondisclosure. If Manitoba gets its way in one of the cases, the 1998 establishment of “significant risk” by the Supreme Court could be thrown out the window. That would, legally, justify Ontario’s approach.
 
The working group would much rather see the province adopt a scientific process for qualifying “significant risk” and set up guidelines about how cases of nondisclosure are dealt with
 
In July, Xtra reported on the attorney general's "betrayal" of the HIV community, when the province reversed its position on crafting guidelines for prosecution. The province opted for what AIDS groups called a “radical” position of arguing that risk of infection should have no role in criminal cases. That, in essence, meant that the province would push forward in prosecuting HIV-positive people who had sex – even if they wore protection or their viral loads were low, and even if transmission didn’t occur.
 
  
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Comments

Visitors to the Hajj
The Federal Government is advising visitors to the Islamic site to get vaccinated 6 weeks before they leave. Life threatening and deadly diseases that visitors are at high risk of getting and bringing back to Canada include meningococcal disease, tuberculosis, influenza, and gastrointestinal infection to name a few.........http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/thn-csv/hajj-eng.php........Here's my question, are those who REFUSE to be vaccinated and therefore placing me at risk, are they going to be charged criminally? I can easily die from any one of these diseases. I ride public transit. I'm at risk. I haven't agreed to have anything to do with these people, such as s/f action. Their disease spreading therefore, like others is criminal assault isn't it? I would also suggest that refusing vaccinations prior to such a trip is intent.
The law is not against gay men
"The Xtra article is clear, it is addressing criminalization and persecution of people who have HIV, who in Canada just happen conveniently to be GAY MEN!"- Puff the vast majority of those who have been prosecuted because of non-disclosure have been heterosexual men, not gay men.
Hey I agree Joe, as long as it's equal
prosecution. For instance let me quote you but change a word here or there.........."Passing the FLU or HEPC to someone,(especially the vulnerable immune-suppressed)when it could be prevented is indeed a form of violence and a crime. There is only a degree of difference between passive-aggressive violence and overt violence. When people end up suffering or more commonly DIE (unlike HIV) through an action by others that could have been prevented, the anger and despair they feel is all the more intense. Yes! Those who willfully harm others should be shipped off to camps with similar uncaring others. They will all treat eachother with scorn and selfishly get whatever they can whenever they can --no matter who suffers for it. That is jail; that is hell on earth. If that's the type you are, then that's where you belong." I agree Joe. It's just that nagging and inconvenient little thing about Equal prosecution.
“Knowingly” infecting others with HIV is violence
HIV prosecution is not about Gays. Straits are also prosecuted for putting others at risk of catching a life-long debilitating disease. And most Gays also ask for legal apprehension of HIV+s spreading HIV, because whether they do it willfully or through neglect, someone new will catch HIV and suffer for the rest of their lives. PEOPLE WHO DO NOT HAVE HIV ARE FEARFUL OF GETTING IT. This is a natural and practical fear, related to SELF-PRESERVATION, which in turn prevents many people of engaging in risky sex. The ones who put others at risk of catching a lifelong debilitating illness from them, should be prosecuted --as they care more about their own pleasure at any cost than the safety of others. The “protect yourself” slogan is only half of the equation for a functioning society. The other half is to care about and be responsible for others. Those who don't care about the safety of others should be removed from society. Those who don't have the intelligence/maturity of “deferred gratification” in sex that could harm others, should indeed be gotten off the streets by legal force --like bank robbers or violent rapists. Passing HIV to someone, when it could be prevented is indeed a form of violence and a crime. There is only a degree of difference between passive-aggressive violence and overt violence. When people end up suffering for the rest of their lives through an action by others that could have been prevented, the anger and despair they feel is all the more intense. Yes! Those who willfully harm others should be shipped off to camps with similar uncaring others. They will all treat eachother with scorn and selfishly get whatever they can whenever they can --no matter who suffers for it. That is jail; that is hell on earth. If that's the type you are, then that's where you belong.
And so it begins...
puff, maybe you should start the Influenza Committee of Toronto (ICT) and apply for government grants from various public health authorities. Then you could form Influenza Action Now! (IAN) and get some people to protest outside government offices until ICT got the governmnet grants. ICT would be a non-profit charity that could issue tax receipts for donations from corporations and individuals. However, since registered charities can't engage in political activities, you would rely on IAN to do your politics.
None of this
is going to turn out well at all. I have no doubt that people such as Tim, Glenn (whoever your are) and others in the aid$ industry mean well. Just like those in the poverty industry mean well. Although often times these well-meaning sentiments also come with social, material and upward mobility legitimacy, I still think most mean well. I have a differing worldview, I discern evidence differently and I see terrible and horrific things happening to HIV people in this Country. it already is. In spite of differing views, one thing is clear, it's not going to end well for those with HIV. I fear for them all.
Um, ok...
So the seriousness of a disease in spite of ALL evidence to the contrary is determined by how many publicly funded organizations there are? Sure. Whatever you say Glenn. The issue is NOT the transmission of disease, the issue is SEX, considering the numbers of Gay Men with HIV in Toronto is roughly around 78%, which hasn't changed by the way in 30 years, (you know, because viruses discriminate) then the issue is the Criminalization and persecution of GAY MEN having SEX. But mostly just sex. That's the issue. It's not the transmission of disease. It never has been. It has nothing to do with health, or transmission of anything, if it did the 1998, SCOC ruling wouldn't have happened. It's about sex. It's about shaming. It's about degrading people. It's about persecution. It is NOT about transmission of anything. There is no evidence to support such a stupid and ridiculous notion. And it most certainly is not about equality and human rights. It is about putting the undesirables into death camps (prisons) where they will die. It is about criminalizing and dehumanizing them. It is NOT about transmission. It is about marginalization, it is about cleansing. It is about removing freedom to love by those that hate. It is about targeting one group over another and punishing them, taking them out of society and removing their potential. It is about putting them in death camps also known as prison. How do you think the immune-suppressed do in such death camps? It is about Sex. It has nothing to do with transmission of anything because if it were then those with other diseases such as Hep for instance would be treated equally brutal. It is about sex. It is not about transmission. It is about assuming 2 men who have sex are committing crimes of sexual assault. It is putting everyone on notice and it is meant to instill fear and submission. But then again I could be wrong. I'm open to that.
AIDS vs. the flu
AIDS and HIV are much more serious than the flu. That’s why there are so many publicly-funded AIDS service organizations and so many AIDS activist groups, yet none for the flu. For example, either at the national level or in Toronto alone, we have the AIDS Committee of Toronto, the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation, AIDS ACTION NOW!, Casey House, Fife House, Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention, Africans in Partnership Against AIDS (APAA) of Toronto, Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention (ASAAP), Asian Community AIDS Services, Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples - AIDS Prevention Program, VIVER - Portuguese-Speaking HIV/AIDS Coalition, Voices of Positive Women, Positive Youth Outreach, Mother-Risk - HIV Health Line, Prisoners' HIV/AIDS Support Action Network, HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario (HALCO), Ontario Working Group on Criminal Law and HIV Exposure, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange, Canadian AIDS Society, Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network and the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research (CANFAR).
"There are worse things than death."
So this is what we've come to? Thanks for the info regarding those who live with HIV+ Joe. Have you ever seen an HIV+ person hospitalized near death for over a month (setting them back at least 2 years)because some pig knowingly infected them with FLU hacking and coughing in their face? You're right Joe in that they are not comparable. The FLU is much more damaging and severe with complications that can go on for a very long time, and as we know death is much more likely by a long shot with the FLU. I support Equal Prosecution for all.
HIV:lifelong debilitating illness --unlike the Flu
There are worse things than death... For those who live, HIV creates a lifelong debilitating illness --unlike the Flu. Even with a low viral load, HIV+ people suffer from complications with medication, opportunistic diseases, cancers, depression. Why wish that on any unsuspecting person. HIV is much worse than the Flu and for much longer. The two are not comparable. Disclosure is a must. Non-disclosure is unethical and the equivalent to sexual assault. HIV+ people who cannot think of the welfare of others should be prosecuted. No infection rate statistic is meaningful if you are the one who was given the sentence of a life-long HIV infection. Furthermore people who are infected by a non-disclosing HIV+ sex partner should have the right to sue for financial compensation for medical expenses and emotional suffering.

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