Playing Russian Roulette with Others

Medical and palliative care for HIV/AIDS has moved on unimaginably since the public health announcements of tumbling grave-stones which terrified me, as a pre-pubescent, far more than those of children running across beaches to concealed glass.

Likewise, public perception has moved on since it was commonly thought HIV infection could occur via toilet seats. As long as carriers do not offer blood transfusions to or have unprotected sex with work colleagues and random members of the public, there is no justification for restricting their professional and social lives.

Thus, when I saw the headline, “Alarm over Reckless HIV Sex Case” on the HIV Scotland website, my first thought was that it was giving short-shrift to any carrier who would have unprotected sexual intercourse with non-carriers and not inform them.

It would appear not. The organization was keen to point out that only one of four deceived sexual partners (the one three months pregnant) had been infected:

HIV groups in Scotland have demanded the “highest standards of proof” before a prosecution can be brought for reckless transmission of the virus.

Their call comes after Mark Devereaux was convicted of having unprotected sex with four different women without telling them about the risks involved.

Three of the women did not contract the virus from the 41-year-old.

HIV Scotland said it would be alarming if more prosecutions were brought in cases where no harm had been caused.

Am I missing something here? Is HIV Scotland really suggesting that loading a pistol with one bullet, spinning the chamber and firing it down a crowded street *more* *than* *once* should be put into context?

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9 Responses to “Playing Russian Roulette with Others”

  1. David T Says:

    There is a political stance behind this – I forget how precisely it works, but I used to get this from a flatmate who was an HIV activist.

    It wasn’t just “criminalising may make prevention/treatment more difficult” although that was part of it. There was some slightly zany gender and sexual politics angle too…

    I remember that my flatmate’s other big thing was that the reason that reported lesbian HIV rates were so low was because our heterosexist society didn’t take lesbianism seriously. She was convinced that there might be a huge lesbian HIV epidemic, but that a conspiracy was preventing its detection, and that we should all be promoting something called “dental dams” in response.

    I didn’t have the heart to argue with her, really.

  2. Mark T Says:

    Come on Alec, be reasonable. No-one was harmed when the gun was fired. In the words of HIV Scotland, it would be alarming if the charges brought against your hypothetical gunman open the door for future prosecutions in cases where no harm has been caused.

  3. efrafandays Says:

    Cor, my blog is blessed with your presence, David! You’re a good egg an’ all, Mark.

    Would this not make oral sex a little less sexy?

    Lesbians, I think, are divided into two groups… those who can be good conversationalists and friends ‘cos their lesbianism is based on a sexual love of women; and those whose lesbianism is based on a sexual hatred of men.

  4. anon Says:

    Hi, yes i am shocked by this, i am one of the ‘lucky’ three women not infected. When the groups say we were not harmed, i like to say thats not true! we had to suffer this man’s behaviour, and know he put our lives at risk. if someone had aimed a gun at me and missed, id still be harmed.

    the groups are claiming its our own fault for having nprotected sex, well im sorry but i had been trying for a baby with this man, and he knew the whole time he had HIV. i have nothing against anyone carrying the virus, but he used it as a weapon.

    im glad you have highlighted this on your page.

  5. efrafandays Says:

    It was quite starling to read that comment on my blog.

    I’ve read this in several Scottish newspapers, but thus far it’s only the BBC web-article (which HIV Scotland reproduced uncritically on its webpage) which suggested these morally deficient views. Number four, on Google for “HIV Scotland”, is that link.

    David’s annotation shows that reasonable campaigns have become subverted by ideology and just the sort of people who The Young Ones or Citizen Smith were parodying. I think it was Erin Pizzey – founder of Chiswick Women’s Refuge, later Refuge in 1971 – who admitted recently that she was aware of domestic violence against men from the start, but the sort of militant feminist organizations (which she definitely was not a part of) whom David knew subverted it to their exclusion.

    As far as I’m concerned, this man – whose I will not mention now – is a sexual predator in the same way had he gone after 16 year old girls. Even discounting the anguish you and the two less-unlucky women experienced whilst waiting for a test, and the issues of PTSD, HIV Scotland’s claim that no-one was harmed is demonstrably wrong… one woman was, and she felt no option but to abort her twins.

    As involved parties, you all four could try contacting the BBC for clarification. Also, as HIV Scotland is a registered charity, the Charity Commission may be interested to hear.

    PS You left your e-mail address on my blog, potentially allowing me to identify you. No-one else can see it, and I will *not* reveal it. These fields don’t require an active e-mail address – I tend to use h@k.com

  6. anon Says:

    i am not allowed to be identified due to the nature of the case, legal anonymity and all that so i can prosecute anyone who identifies me anyway, but thanks for your honesty.

    he gets sentenced at the end of february, so im sure it will all flare up then. i was told of your article by a friend, who told me to have a look because you said exactly what i has said, about dodging a bullet so to speak.

    i never had him prosecuted because i have a predjudice against anyone with HIV, but he had a moral and ethical obligation to tell us he had it, and i feel this should always remain a legal obligation also.

  7. efrafandays Says:

    Yes, I can appreciate that it would also potentially allow the other three to be identified.

    I assume you are still in touch with solicitors or the prosecution team, or even victims’ support. If you were worried that complaints would breach the confidentiality, they may be able give advice on how to avoid it.

    I didn’t think for a moment you were prejudiced against HIV: just people who commit what is basically GBH.

  8. Terrence Higgins Trust Does Not Get It « A Rabbit's Eye View of the Hyperborean North Says:

    […] the time, I discussed HIV Scotland’s apparent fear that this would set some sort of worrying precedent and dissuade […]

  9. What Is There Not To Get For AIDS Charities? « A Rabbit's Eye View of the Hyperborean North Says:

    […] Is There Not To Get For AIDS Charities? By efrafandays Previously I have written about sexual predator, Mark Devereaux who was convicted of knowingly engaging in unprotected sexual […]

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