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Ontario withdraws intervention in HIV criminalization cases

Ontario withdraws intervention in HIV criminalization cases

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Supreme Court case to be tried Feb 8
The Ministry of the Attorney Feneral has quietly withdrawn its applications to intervene in two HIV criminalization cases set to be tried before the Supreme Court in 2012. The withdrawals were filed Dec 9.
 
Before the election, the office of former attorney general Chris Bentley had applied to intervene in two cases from the Manitoba and Quebec Courts of Appeal. The Sept 9 document noted there was “uncertainty and unfairness” in current laws. 
 
In both cases, the accused are HIV-positive and had consensual sex with their partners without disclosing their health statuses, but they either used condoms or were on antiretroviral medications that kept the risk of transmission very low. In each case, the accused was acquitted by the provincial Court of Appeal.
 
The Ontario submission called for a consent-based framework that would require people who are HIV-positive to disclose their health statuses before engaging in any kind of sexual activity, no matter the risk. A previous Supreme Court decision found that people who are HIV-positive are obligated to disclose their statuses whenever engaging in activities that would expose their partners to “significant risk,” which has been applied unevenly in lower courts.
 
HIV activists said they felt betrayed by the Ontario government’s decision, as it appeared to go back on a previous pledge to draft prosecutorial guidelines that would limit prosecutions and create less confusion in the courts.
 
Tim McCaskell, of the Ontario Working Group on Criminal Law and HIV Exposure, says that his group has been working to convince MPPs and the attorney general that they were taking the wrong approach. Going forward, he says, they want to raise awareness of the issue.
 
“Even Supreme Court justices are aware of what public opinion is. We need to make them aware that a wrong decision at the Supreme Court could have a dangerous impact,” McCaskell says.
 
A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Attorney General declined to comment on the case, as it is still before the courts.
 
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear both cases on Feb 8.
 

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Comments

Undetectable is almost zero risk
Joe. It's not reduced, it is as close to ZERO RISK as you can get. Not reduced. Thanks for playing. Go sell your fear somewhere else.
ZERO DETECTABLE IS -NOT- UNINFECTABLE.
A general FEAR about catching HIV is very healthy, as it shows our natural instinct for self preservation. FEAR of HIV will prevent many people from barebacking, which is still the best way to catch HIV. ....... @Dan “if you want to stay HIV-negative, you have to rely on yourself.” “That has always been the case.” It is unfortunate that we cannot rely on each other to keep us safe. WHAT RANDY WROTE IS AN UNFORTUNATE REALITY: “when being anally penetrated, keep checking to make sure the top doesn't remove the condom.” That is exactly what happened to me !!! The condom that I put on him, he took off behind my back. When I checked and it was on the floor, he said it must have slipped. When I put a new on on him, the second one went on the floor as well. He was HIV+ and unethical. I did my best to protect my self. I'm still angry about that day. The other part of the equation that HIV+ organizations do not clearly state, is that WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR EACH OTHER. Those who knowingly infect others with a life sentence of HIV should be jailed. ...... When discussing infections as statistics it is meaningless if you are one of the few who catches HIV and has to deal with it for the rest of your life. ZERO DETECTABLE IS -NOT- UNINFECTABLE. It is greatly “reduced” but not zero. STOP USING THIS STUPID SLOGAN. IT IS A LIE.
I ran out of space
Sexual health is more than bananas and balloons.
Yes, talk to your community organizations. Regardless of our sero-status or our politics, we are professionals about our work and we will try our best to transmit the information you seek and/or need.
No, the best self protection is not fear. You shouldn’t fear your sexuality. Fuck, if you are not having fun while fucking, why bother? The best self protection is information. Fear causes misinformation, alienation, criminalization, and higher infections rates.
Just some comments
I’m an outreach worker; I am self identified queer and pig; last time I got tested the result came back negative; I get tested regularly; I talk about risks and condom negotiation with my partners (casual and regulars, positive and negative); I work for an AIDS service organization. I would like to say a couple of things.
My job is not to keep you sexually safe. That is your job and yours only. My job consists on proving people with the best information and support I can give for them to make their own informed sex life decisions. In fact a great part of my job consist in repeating this message again and again, because for most people it would be easier if my job (or for that matter the government’s job or someone else but themselves) would be keeping them safe, that would take away their sexual responsibility and if something unexpected happened they would have someone else to blame.
It is challenging because when talking about sex and relationships (no matter the nature: casual, regular or in-between) there is so much information out there, so many factors to consider. And people read or hear whatever they want to read or hear.

No, undetectable does not mean unifectable, however it does mean the risk of transmission decreases significantly and people should now this. Welcome to the gray area of sexuality (which is in fact most of the area of sexuality, if not entirely). We all decide to take different risk in our lives (low, high, etc.) depending on different factors, the important thing is to know when and which ones we are taking and the consequences of them, so we can be prepared the best way possible.
Yes, talk to your health care provider about your sexual health, but talk honestly about it, ask a lot of questions, seek second and third opinions. Remember that your sexual health is not only the state of your junk, but also how to you perceive your body, how you relate to your partners, how do you feel while fucking, how do you make others feel, etc. Sexua
To clarify
Just to be clear, the Ontario Working Group on Criminal Law and HIV Exposure had felt betrayed by Ontario's proposed argument to the Supreme Court. The province was preparing to argue that people living with HIV should always be considered criminals if we do not disclose our status, even in situations where there was no significant risk of transmitting the virus. We are gratified that Ontario has now withdrawn this dangerous argument and will not be intervening at the Supreme Court.
Idiocy
@Randy - You write: "if you want to stay HIV-negative, you have to rely on yourself." That has always been the case. You know, personal responsibility for our own health and well being. What kind of messed up world do you live in where this is NOT the case?
Fake SLOGANS lead to infections
“Zero detectable is uninfectable.” Where did this neat little slogan come from? IT IS NOT TRUE !!! Zero detectable means there are less than 40 viruses per mL of blood and the technology is not sensitive enough to read it --but the viruses are there. _____ The “Slogan” originated from a Swiss study in 2008 based on Hetero serodiscordant couples which showed that the transmission rate of HIV through vaginal intercourse was -“reduced by 96%”- for HIV+s on antiretrovirals. BUT in the Uganda study (900? people) 29 of the partners did become infected with HIV. In another African study where both serodiscordant partners were taking antiretrovirals; the negative one was taking PreP. 13 people became infected compared to 47 on placebo. There is no major study regarding the infection rate for anal intercourse among Gays, only mathematical modelling. _____ Until it is proven and/or HIV is cured, the best self protection is that primal instinct for self preservation --fear. ______ The CDC says: “the potential for transmission exists despite sustaining undetectable viral load while on effective ART.” “Although ART reduces concentration of virus in seminal fluid, virus still persists within cells and present in seminal fluid of some men who are on ART with undetectable plasma viral load” ______ “Several studies have observed that individuals on effective ART who achieve long-term suppression of viral load to undetectable levels may exhibit periodic temporary --increases in plasma viral load (blips).” http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/treatment/resources/factsheets/art.htm ___________ Read what ACT recommends as behaviour regarding safety: http://www.actoronto.org/home.nsf/pages/antiretroviralsviralloadandhivtransmission
Be wary if you want to stay HIV-negative
This news represents a victory for people like Tim McCaskell of AIDS Action Now and Mikiki Hickey of the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation and the ideology behind their "I Party. I Bareback. I'm Positive. I’m Responsible." poster campaign. HIV-negative gay men who want to stay that way really need to exercise a high degree of caution (e.g., when being anally penetrated, keep checking to make sure the top doesn't remove the condom) and avoid high-risk situations (e.g., going to a bathhouse or sex club when drunk or stoned). If you want to stay HIV-negative, you have to rely on yourself. If you have questions, seek advice from a qualified health care professional. Don't rely on advice from AIDS service organizations controlled by HIV-positive activists to keep you safe. They are in a conflict of interest.
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