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Critics assail crime laws aimed at people with HIV

By David Crary

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Jan. 2 2012 7:55 a.m. MST

In the more common cases where an HIV-positive sexual partner had no malicious intent and there is a dispute about whether the HIV status was disclosed, prosecution is probably inappropriate, McColl said.

Advocacy groups recommend that people with HIV — to guard themselves against prosecution — should find ways to document that they disclosed their status to sexual partners. This could entail making a video of a disclosure conversation, having the partner sign a letter confirming the disclosure, or having the partner join in a discussion with a health professional.

"When you are in love, or in the heat of the moment, it may seem impossible to do any of these things," advises the Positive Justice Project. "But remember that these are the tools that may help you fight an arrest or conviction."

For advocacy groups working on behalf of HIV-positive people, the criminalization laws represent a negative side of a mixed picture. Overall, activists are heartened by progress in combatting HIV-related discrimination, whether by private employers or the federal government.

However, everyday discrimination does persist despite the Americans with Disabilities Act, which extends its anti-discrimination protections to people with HIV. In Pennsylvania, for example, a 13-year-old boy recently was denied admission to a private school because he is HIV-positive.

Online:

Statement from Rep. Lee: http://1.usa.gov/pG6rGe

Positive Justice Project: http://bit.ly/au71dN

David Crary can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/CraryAP

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