This attitude of ‘giving it to somebody else” really annoys me.
Its as though only one person is involved-and its just not the case. It takes TWO to tango-and unless someone is forcibly raped- I think the other partner has just as much responsibility. My attitude is to assume that everyone is positive-and to take precautions with EVERY sexual partner. You can’t just put your life in the hands of someone else! I have heard the phrase “its OK-I’m clean” many times as the person concerned doesn’t want to use a condom HIMSELF with me!
how many of them know for sure that they are “clean” even if they got their test results that day it just shows that they were clean 3 months prior to the test. It does not mean that they are clean at the time of the test, nor that they will remain clean after the test.
Too many people assume they are “clean” even if they haven’t had a test because they think they don’t have any symptons – i have met straight men in their mid 20s that have NEVER had a sexual health test.
If however the person KNOWS (which is the operative word here) and take advantage of the other person’s ignorance of their status then they shouldn’t have a leg to stand on as a defence they should say “hold on we should only have safer sex because of my illness”. If the other party is aware though and they choose to have unprotected sex regardless then I agree they should not have the right to play the “victim”.
I think this is more of a moral judgement than a legal one. Personally as a +ve individual I am very open about my status & always disclose prior to even getting into the sex stuff.
The other thing to consider is that most diagnosed +ve people are on successful treatment which makes it very unlikely for them to pass on HIV, so even if condoms were not used the risk would be very low. Of course condoms whould always be used together with the concept of treatment as prevention.
The point I am trying to make here is that most new infections do not come from +ve people who are on treatment, but from those who have HIV but remain undiagnosed.
As John says those who THINK they are “clean” that are in the main responsible for HIV transmission. Someone in the primary phase of HIV infection is up to 28 times more infectious than someone who is on successful treatment.
This is a clear example why everyone should be considered to have HIV & take personal responsibility for their own health
Of course – the difference between you and the law is that it targets those who didn’t make the correct decision. You have acknowledged that its not right to even take that smallest chance of transmission which is the right thing to do. Its not an attack on you, its an attack on those complacent with other peoples’ health.
I don’t think I was suggesting you were attacking me as an individual James, I am taking a much wider view than me personally. I am not sure what you mean by “it targets those who didn’t make the correct decision” I would have to ask what the correct decision is in relation to having any unprotected sex, only the individuals involved can do that not you or I.
I think each & every one of us need to take the view that it is wrong to be complacent about our own health & not rely on others when making that decision. If an individual who believes they are HIV neg chooses to have unprotected sex with someone that he assumes to also be HIV negative because no disclosure has taken place, then I would have to ask who is being complacent. Similarly if the HIV +ve guy assumes that the other guy must also be +ve because condoms have not been discussed or used then this person is also being complacent.
This is often where the problem lies – gay men do not like talking about HIV it’s that simple
What I am saying is that if you know you have an illness which you can pass onto other people (and I am only talking about those who know) then it would be irresponsible to not give someone the information they need in order to make “fully informed consent”. A jury will look at the complainant and feel pity for them if you haven’t – its human nature.
What if you was in hospital, would you inform the workers there you had HIV in case of needlestick injuries? Or do you think that the worker should assume every patient has HIV, or Hepatitis? Its not just gay men that don’t like talking about HIV, it is everyone – straight men and women can have it too (people often forget this)
I agree with what you are suggesting James about disclosure, BUT HIV is still a highly stigmatised condition which results in many many positive individuals wanting to keep their status a very closely guarded secret, mainly down to fear of how others will react.
I have no problem disclosing to dentists, GP’s any healthcare proffessional, I know many people who do not feel comfortable disclosing because of concerns over confidentiality.
Universal precautions will in the majority of cases protect health workers so there is no requirement for anyone to disclose their status, again perhaps this is a moral judgement to make here. There is no legal requirement to disclose where all reasonable steps have been taken to prevent transmission occurring.
Those of us on treatment are very unlikely to pass on the virus, but not impossible, the risk of disclosure has to be weighed against the benefits, many +ve people may feel the risk of disclosure is greater than the rsk of transmission
The “universal protocols” are largely ignored in hospitals because of “box ticking” the “need” to see the patient and chuck them back in the waiting room. Its wrong but staff are told don’t use gloves unless there is a NEED to such as the patient has a blood borne virus for example. The people at the top don’t care about patient or staff safety simply “not breaking the breach time” or be labelled as a “failing hospital”.
I am not convinced that universal precautions are largely ignored by hospitals, not least because of the hygiene aspect and the prevention of Hosptial acquired infections such as MRSA.
I have never experienced a healthcare professional not using gloves when required & I would also make my own risk assessment of the possibility of transmission occurring.
You seem to suggest that many +ve people are irresponsible, are not aware of how HIV is transmitted & are not concerned about forward transmission; we are the experts as we live with the condition, I have often educated my GP about HIV reacted matters – the problem I often find is that those of us who disclose do so & are often sidelined particularly when it comes to relationships & sex, yet we pose the least risk in terms of transmitting the virus. We need to remove stigma, fear & discrimination.
Spot on here james, personally I think it it shocking that many MSM go for the odd STI check up but do not always include an HIV test – why is this the case? HIV & STI’s in general should be something that everyone should be mindful of, but sadly they are not.
this is in response to your comment
“how many of them know for sure that they are “clean” even if they got their test results that day it just shows that they were clean 3 months prior to the test. It does not mean that they are clean at the time of the test, nor that they will remain clean after the test.
Too many people assume they are “clean” even if they haven’t had a test because they think they don’t have any symptons – i have met straight men in their mid 20s that have NEVER had a sexual health test.”
Great comment John and it is the “its OK I’m clean” individuals that are linked to the onward of HIV transmissions. Well over 50% (possibly up to 80%) of all new infections come from those who THINK they are “clean” (horrible word used in this context). Why is it in 2012 that 25% of all infections amongst MSM have not yet been diagnosed?
It should be noted that here in the England & Wales successful prosecutions for “reckless transmission” can only be brought where there is clear evidence that transmission has taken place, the accused individual knew they were +ve, did not disclose thier status prior to having unprotected sex, did not take reasonable precautions to protect their sexual partners, & knew the routes by which HIV can be transmitted.
The criminalisation of HIV & other STI’s is an area where the law really should not be involved & has been shown to add to problems around disclosure, stigma & discrimination which all do nothing to reduce new infection rates.
The problem is STIs are likened to harm, such as gonorrhea (which can cause sterility, Syphilis which can cause madness, HIV which can lead to a weakened immune system) the effects of which are not reversible.
“Reckless transmission” is used by the CPS because its easier to prove then a “Malicious transmission” where someone deliberately passes on the disease (rather then accidentally) – would you not feel slightly sick that someone you thought you could trust had plotted to give you said diseases and was willing to lie to you to get it done.
Its not about criminalising and stigmatising those with sexual diseases – its about those that know they have these and diseases and do not get treatment or man enough to take responsibility to stop passing it on. Don’t be selfish – think of the damage you could cause to someone else’s life.
Here’s an example for you to consider James – if you have ever had a cold sore do you disclose this to your sexual partners? The herpes virus cannot be cured, many people have it & are not aware they do. Genital or anal herpes can be missed as symptoms can be very mild, have you ever has a herpes virus test taken, do you know your herpes status, would you feel it easy to disclose your herpes status to your sexual partners.
The answer is probably not because the risk of transmission is low when there are no lesions present, but people can shed herpes virus without obvious symptoms – are you now going to disclose the fact you have had an oral herpes attack to all your sexual partners or health professionals? Will you ask about herpes at your next STI appointment?
Herpes can be very debilitating yet it is not the subject of stigma, fear & discrimination as is HIV, why is this I have to ask?
Herpes doesn’t kill you.