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More attempted murder charges

Second Toronto man charged for failing to disclose HIV status

A second Toronto man has been charged with attempted murder for failing to disclose his HIV status to a sexual partner.

The 46-year-old was arrested on Jun 4 and is facing one charge each of attempted murder, aggravated sexual assault, assault causing bodily harm and assault with a weapon.

According to a Toronto Police Service news release “the accused had unprotected sexual intercourse on multiple occasions after being informed that he was HIV-positive in March 2009” and that although the charges stem from sex the accused had with a woman “his partners may have been in both the gay and heterosexual communities.”

The accused had his first appearance in court on the afternoon of Jun 4.

This is the second time that attempted murder charges have been laid in connection with HIV nondisclosure in recent months. On Apr 29 a 28-year-old Toronto man was charged with attempted murder for failing to disclose his HIV status to a male partner. In both cases police have issued public safety alerts encouraging anyone who may have had sex with him to come forward.

In May Xtra asked Richard Elliott, executive director of Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, for advice on what you should do if you think you may have had sexual contact with the accused. Should you call the police as they ask and tell them all about it?

“I can’t answer that,” says Elliott. “What I might do would be different from what someone else might do. I think if you have some reason to think you’ve done something with someone that puts you at some risk of becoming infected, what I think you should do is go get tested and you should practise safer sex.”

What about the police? Should you call the police?

“If it were me I would not think I would want to call the police and nail this guy,” says Elliott. “That would not be my reaction.”

The recent attempted murder charges follow the April conviction of Hamilton man Johnson Aziga on two counts of murder for failing to disclose his HIV-positive status to two female partners who subsequently died of HIV-related causes.

Barry Adam, a sociologist at the University of Windsor and Ontario HIV Treatment Network researching the impacts of criminalization on people living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs), told Xtra at the time of Aziga’s conviction that prosecuting people for failing to disclose their HIV status to sex partners may in fact impede prevention efforts and unnecessarily stigmatize PHAs.

“It reinforces a message that people don’t need to practice protective sex because they can rely on partners to disclose if they’re positive,” he said. “I think from an HIV-prevention viewpoint that’s a worrisome development because it’s always important to keep in mind a significant amount of transmission is coming from people who don’t know they’re positive.”

Take action: I Condemn the Criminalization of HIV.
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Rally in Ottawa: Stop the Criminalization of HIV-Positive People!

Wed, Jun 10, 12:30-1:30pm.
Parliament Hill.

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