I recently published an article introducing you to some of the laws regarding intentional HIV transmission from various countries around the world, along with examples of numerous criminal cases involving successful criminal convictions against those who were found guilty of an offence. These cases primarily related to situations where someone intentionally infected another person or put them at risk of contracting the virus, in situations where the other person involved was not aware they were being put at risk of becoming infected with HIV. It was surprising to see how the laws are so different around the world, with some countries using a number of laws to prosecute those who put the health of others at risk.
The previous article covered important legal information, so I chose not to add my personal opinion, even though I have an opinion on the subject, so I have instead opted to share my opinion in this article to make my thoughts known and I welcome your opinion on the issue as well. The legal article is a very important one, because it highlights the fact that laws vary significantly throughout the world, so it’s essential for everyone to understand the laws where they are before subjecting themselves to potential legal consequences. As we have seen, we may not have full legal control when it comes to making our own choices when the law gets involved.
I believe people should be allowed to decide what happens to their own bodies and the law should not have the power to override an individual’s decision making ability when it affects the individual alone and nobody else, providing they have the capacity to make informed decisions. I completely understand the need for certain laws to exist to protect people, especially in cases where someone is infected against their will and I have previously made my position clear regarding stealthing (I’m not a fan), because I believe everyone should have the power to make decisions that affect their own lives and this ability should not be taken away from them by someone else.
As someone who is at the contemplation stage on the bug chasing path, I feel as though I should be the only person who has any control over decisions involving my own body, because I have the capacity to make decisions. I have extensively researched bug chasing and HIV infection, so I am well aware of the risks and consequences involved, and if I decide that I want to become HIV-positive, I believe I should have the ability to make this decision and allow it to happen without being subjected to any legal consequences for doing so. I also believe that if I want someone to infect me, then any parties involved in the process should be allowed to help me and be exempt from any legal consequences for fulfilling my request as part of the infection arrangement. I am very thankful for the laws in my locality, as they acknowledge my thinking and protect those who need to be protected and enable others to accept the risk if they are willing to.
In the legal article, it was very clear that the legal cases related to people who were careless (or reckless) or who intentionally wanted to harm another person. I fully support laws that protect people from harm if they do not want to be harmed or subjected to being infected by a disease or virus such as HIV, but I believe the laws should be written to make a clear distinction that the criminal laws relate to specific circumstances where someone has misled another person intentionally and at the same time protect those who have been upfront and honest about what’s going on, because these are completely different circumstances.
It’s a person’s choice to decide what they want to eat and drink when it comes to food and beverage consumption and we are empowered to make these choices without any interference from the law. If we choose to eat fatty or sugary foods, the law allows us to do this, even though we should be aware this will make us put on weight if we eat too much. The law generally allows us to drink as much alcohol as we want once we reach a certain age, providing we’re not driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery and we also know that drinking too much will lead to us becoming intoxicated. We can also choose to smoke tobacco and the law generally allows us to have as many as we want once we reach a certain age, even though we are aware that there’s a risk this could cause a life threatening health condition.
The law allows us to do a lot of things to our bodies that could have serious health implications, whether’s it’s putting on weight (heart attack), becoming intoxicated (liver damage), or increasing the risk of having a health condition (lung cancer) as a few examples. People usually know that when they eat, drink or smoke, there are consequences involved with taking these actions, but the law generally allows people to go about doing whatever they choose to do. That’s why I believe if a person wants to become infected with HIV and is aware of the risks and is willing to to accept the consequences, then they should be allowed to introduce the virus into their body, just like someone who is choosing to put food, drink or smoking substances in their bodies, as antiretroviral medication can help HIV-positive people live a life just as long as someone who is HIV-negative.
The criminal code for my location states “Any person who … with intent to do some grievous bodily harm or transmit a serious disease to any person … or … in any way unlawfully wounds, does grievous bodily harm, or transmits a serious disease to, any person … is guilty of a crime and liable to imprisonment for life and any person who unlawfully does grievous bodily harm to another is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment for 14 years”, but the public health act for my location states “(1) A person must not recklessly put someone else at risk of contracting a controlled notifiable condition. (2) A person must not recklessly transmit a controlled notifiable condition to someone else. (3) A person does not commit an offence against subsection (1) if, when the other person was put at risk of contracting the condition, the other person— (a) knew the person had the condition; and (b) voluntarily accepted the risk of contracting the condition. (4) A person does not commit an offence against subsection (2) if, when the condition was transmitted to the other person, the other person— (a) knew the person had the condition; and (b) voluntarily accepted the risk of contracting the condition.”
The criminal code is referring to people who are being reckless, so this includes people lying, withholding important information or misleading another person about their HIV status. The public health act supports the criminal code, but it also has a couple of passages that protect people who voluntarily accept the risk of contracting the condition. The public health act for my locality is excellent in my opinion, because it protects bug chasers and gift givers who are upfront and honest about any potential HIV transmission. I believe both pieces of legislation are well written and protect everyone who needs to be protected, whether it’s from victims of stealthing or bug chasers and gift givers, so these would be excellent laws other countries and locations could adopt to create fairness for all. I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject, so if you have something you would like to share, please leave a comment below.
Featured Photo: © Can Stock Photo / tadija
Article ID: CC036
Version Control: 1.0 – April 23, 2022: Original article published.