As charges related to HIV transmission have multipled and become more severe in Canada, there is an alarming new case in the United States:
An HIV-positive man in Michigan is
facing terrorism charges after biting another man in a neighbourhood fight,
reports the Michigan Messenger.
"Following the incident, police
were called in and after a brief investigation, placed [Daniel] Allen under
arrest and charged him with two crimes: aggravated assault, a misdemeanor
charge which carries a punishment of up to one year in jail and/or $1,000 fine
and assault with intent to maim, a 10-year felony."
But after Allen told the local FOX news
station that he is HIV-positive, prosecutors decided to seek additional
"On Nov 2, [prosecutor Eric] Smith's office amended
its complaint to add a charge of possession or use of a harmful device," reports the Michigan Messenger. "That
law is a 25-year felony and was part of a 2004 package of terrorism laws
created by the legislature in the wake of the Sep 11, 2001, attacks."
HIV-positive gay man Daniel Allen [right] faces terrorism charges after he bit his neighbour Winifred Fernandez [left] during a dispute. (FOX News screencap)
HIV experts note that it is nearly impossible to transmit HIV through biting. Catherine Hanssens, executive director of the NYC-based Center for HIV Law and Policy, told the Michigan Messenger that the terrorism charges aren't warranted.
"It's just nonsense. It's
cowardly. It's the kind of thing that
keeps kids [with HIV] out of day care and camps and allows kids [with HIV] to
be kicked out of karate," she says. "It's continuing the boogey-man characterization of people with HIV."
Read the Michigan
Messenger's full article, including more reaction from HIV experts
(h/t to gay men's health activist Trevor
Hoppe, who rightly filed this story under "Fucked Up Bullshit"
on his blog)
Read more about the criminalization of HIV on Xtra.ca: