Rights & Liberties
1 min

The trouble with Florida

BY NOREEN FAGAN – Florida: Disney World, Miami Beach, Cuban sandwiches and some
pretty strange HIV disclosure laws.

Laws revolving around the nondisclosure of HIV/AIDS are
problematic in themselves, but in Florida they have taken another twist — only
straight couples can be prosecuted.

The HIV/AIDS News Digest reports that a Florida appellate
court overturned the conviction of a woman found guilty of transmitting HIV to
her partner. According to the report, the judges’ decision was based on the fact that the law defines
sexual intercourse as “the penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex
organ.”

The ruling has already made an impact on another case, where
the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s office threw out a case against a gay man
who was charged with failing to disclose his HIV status to his partner. 

The alleged victim told reporters, “I found out after
we broke apart that he was, in fact, HIV positive for 20 years. It’s harmful to
somebody’s health and you’re putting other people’s life at risk. And you can’t
play God."

There is so much wrong with that statement that I don’t know
where to begin, but I will say that it seems the guy was dumped and
decided to make his ex-lover pay by reporting him to the police.

The jilted lover scenario is just one of many reasons that HIV/AIDS nondisclosure laws suck.

It’s a strange and unusual twist: on one hand,
Florida’s laws have worked in the gays favour; on the other, they are archaic
and homophobic. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out; will the rigid definition of sexual intercourse be changed or will lawmakers
keep the definition but change the HIV nondisclosure laws so that everyone can
live in fear of prosecution?

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