A Chicago man stands accused of not disclosing to his partner that he had HIV, though he knew he was infected, according to Cook County prosecutors.
Chicago Tribune reported Oct. 25 that Anthony Hallam, of the 600 block of Oakdale Avenue, was charged with criminal transmission of HIV. He allegedly did not use a condom with his partner and repeatedly denied that he was infected. He was arrested Oct. 23 in the 3900 block of North Ravenswood Avenue.
In Illinois, HIV exposure is a Class 2 felony, subject to three to seven years in prison as well as a fine of up to $25,000.
HIV/AIDS activists in recent years have questioned the effectiveness of HIV criminalization laws, asserting that they undermine numerous goals of advocates and health officials.
"HIV criminalization is making the epidemic worse, because of how it drives stigma, and discourages people at greatest risk from getting tested and those who test positive from accessing treatment," said Sean Strub of the Sero Project, which is dedicated to combating HIV stigma.
"These prosecutions typically have nothing to do with HIV transmission," he added. "They are most often about whether or not the person with HIV can prove they disclosed prior to having sex. Whether a condom was used, or the person's viral load was even detectable, doesn't matter, nor does the science."
Strub further pointed out that there are no laws punishing transmission of more widespread infections. "More U.S. women died last year of cervical cancer from strains of HPV than died of AIDS from HIV, but we're not prosecuting people for failing to disclose they carry HPV. That's because, unlike HIV, it isn't specifically associated with gay men, people of color and people who use drugs. HIV criminalization is about targeting specific groups of people, not about preventing disease."
Chicago Tribune's article is at www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-man-charged-with-failing-to-reveal-he-had-hiv-to-partner-20141025-story.html .