Terrence Higgins Trust Does Not Get It

Mark Devereux is a sexual predator who engaged in sexual intercourse with a number of women over a period of many years despite being aware of HIV infection.  In January this year, he was convicted at Edinburgh High Court for reckless and culpable conduct in connexion with four of his sexual partners: one of whom discovered she was infected after becoming pregnant with twins.

She felt compelled to abort her foetuses.

At the time, I discussed HIV Scotland’s apparent fear that this would set some sort of worrying precedent and dissuade others from approaching HIV/AIDS charities especially where no harm had occurred (my emphasis).

In one of its first sittings at in Dumbarton, the High Court has sentenced Devereux to ten years in gaol,

Michael Carter, writing on the AIDSMAP website continues to express a similar view to HIV Scotland.  This, we are told is the first British case in which an individual has been convicted for engaging in sexual intercourse with a partner who was not infected.

Realization that one woman was infected appears to have slipped the attention of those making public statements, and it is possible that the jury and sentencing judge took account of this.

Interviewed on the BBC News website, Catherine Murphy of the Terrence Higgins Trust calls this is a “complex issue”:

Currently any HIV positive person wanting to speak to an advisor about difficulties with sexual health or condom use has to do this knowing that the conversation could be used against them in court.

The real fear is that people living with HIV will be discouraged from seeking help with these important issues.

The law being used in Scotland to prosecute people for transmitting HIV was not devised with HIV in mind and has yet to establish what evidence or proof should be needed to convict.

It shows little understanding of this complex issue and fails to recognise the changing nature of HIV infection.

Most importantly it runs the risk of increasing HIV prejudice in Scotland and strengthening the forces that drive the epidemic.”

No, Catherine, what this dumb ignorant member of the public has seen is a man using his HIV infection as a weapon against at least four, trusting women: one of whom was infected, and which your charity now has a duty of care to.  Will you tell her that there is a ‘bigger picture’ to this?

Unwitting carriers still are safe from prosecution: it is just the one who knowingly withhold information from sexual partners who should be afraid.

There is no such thing as a perfect victim.  Devereaux merits assistance and treatment for his infection, but presenting him as a wronged individual in this case will do more to damage the perception of your charity.  Put it this way, I consider the ex jure status of Guantanamo to have been a grave and immoral error, and get quite animated at the thought of detention without trial.

It does not follow I would consider the failed jihadist Moazamm Begg and his vanity organization, Cage Prisoners to merit promotion.

Never underestimate the ability of self-appointed spokespeople and gatekeepers to defend/mitigate the very worst behaviour.  The ordinary man on the street just is not that stupid or vindictive.

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2 Responses to “Terrence Higgins Trust Does Not Get It”

  1. Of bullies, apologies, slogans, and paranoia – Scottish Roundup Says:

    […] had sex with four partners, has prompted two passionate posts from opposite sides of the argument. Efrafandays argues that Devereaux 10 year sentence was correct. Lallands Peat Worrier’s post contains the […]

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

    […] HIV Scotland and the Terrence Higgins Trust expressed “concern” that what is in effect attempted GBH would be stigmatized, even “where […]

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