#SexIs - #SexFeed - This Week In Sex: Should we sue HIV patients for not taking their meds?

Rayne Millaray Rayne Millaray


This week in sex, as Roland Hulme told us, we had two interesting disease-related developments.

The first awesome announcement was that the patent on Combivir, an anti-viral medication that is believed to reduce the risk of infecting sexual partners with HIV/AIDS, has expired. This means drug companies can now begin producing a generic form of the drug, which will greatly reduce the cost and increase the number of HIV+ people who will have access to the drug.

On the heels of this comes an arrest made because a patient refused to take medication that would prevent his Tuberculosis infection becoming contagious. This is the 32nd arrest of its kind in the county.

Some of you remember the fella who intentionally had sex with a number of women without disclosing his HIV+ status. He was eventually convicted of 14 felony accounts of assault, though we're sure that's little comfort to the women he infected.

And all this raises the question: Should the government hold people who have communicable (whether by sex, fluids or more common methods like coughing) diseases responsible for the health of those around them? What about if the disease is curable?
Answers (private voting - your screen name will NOT appear in the results):
Should the government hold people with communicable diseases responsible for the health of those around them?
Yes, absolutely. If they can avoid getting someone else sick, they should!
5
Yes, but only if the person is intentionally making others sick.
31
Maybe. I dunno.
2
No. That's way too much of an invasion of privacy.
4
.
Should the government be able to force someone to take their prescribed medication?
Yes, if it will protect them, keep them healthy, and or protect those around them.
9
Still don't know.
1
No. Who are we to force someone to be healthy?
24
..
What about civil or criminal action? If someone knowingly gives someone else a serious disease, like HIV or TB, should they be punished?
Yes! Those diseases kill people!
31
I'm not sure.
3
No. That's like putting someone in jail for tripping over a rock, bumping into a ladder and sending someone flying into traffic. It was the car that killed them, not the person who knocked over the ladder.
2
Total votes: 112 (39 voters)
Poll is closed
05/17/2012
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Carrie Ann Carrie Ann
Very interesting concept.

Isn't it already illegal in some places to do things like spit on someone, as you could be doing it to intentionally spread a disease?
05/17/2012
Ansley Ansley
Quote:
Originally posted by Carrie Ann
Very interesting concept.

Isn't it already illegal in some places to do things like spit on someone, as you could be doing it to intentionally spread a disease?
Yes. The laws are highly controversial to a degree. It's a slippery slope.
05/17/2012
Waterlily Waterlily
Hmm... Glad you reminded me of this! It's good to give ethically compromising situations like these some thought. Thanks!
05/17/2012
bayosgirl bayosgirl
I think people should be able to do what they want in regards to their own health, but when it comes to infecting other people they should be held accountable.
05/18/2012
Sex Positivity Sex Positivity
We can't force people with mental illnesses to take their meds unless they are a harm to themselves or others. I think HIV treatment should be the same.
05/18/2012
indiechick indiechick
Quote:
Originally posted by Rayne Millaray


This week in sex, as Roland Hulme told us, we had two interesting disease-related developments.

The first awesome announcement was that the patent on Combivir, an anti-viral medication that is believed to reduce the risk of infecting ... More
If someone is KNOWINGLY a carrier of a life-threatening disease and they KNOWNINGLY pass it on to partner, they should be held responsible for basically MURDRERING another individual...it can be a slow death..but it is still technically MURDERING THEM!
05/18/2012
Sex Positivity Sex Positivity
Quote:
Originally posted by indiechick
If someone is KNOWINGLY a carrier of a life-threatening disease and they KNOWNINGLY pass it on to partner, they should be held responsible for basically MURDRERING another individual...it can be a slow death..but it is still technically MURDERING ... More
This isn't necessarily true. HIV is no longer the death sentence it one was. We're this still the epidemic in the 90's, I'd completely agree with the claim of murder. But now we have one man who has been effectively CURED of AIDS, plus drug cocktails that keep symptoms away, and pills that keep sexual partners from contracting the disease.

No, it is not responsible to have unprotected sex without disclosing your STD/STI status, but it's no longer murder for many of the original major diseases.

I'm revoking my original statement. Suing people who give others HIV/AIDS are no worse than people who are giving each other herpes or any other STD. If someone is doing this intentionall, they should be required to take their meds. But other than that? It's nobody's business but theirs and their partner(s)'.
05/18/2012
Rayne Millaray Rayne Millaray
Quote:
Originally posted by Sex Positivity
This isn't necessarily true. HIV is no longer the death sentence it one was. We're this still the epidemic in the 90's, I'd completely agree with the claim of murder. But now we have one man who has been effectively CURED of AIDS, ... More
One person being cured of AIDS and one antiviral that's cheap enough for poor AIDS victims to afford isn't quite enough for me to agree that AIDS isn't a death sentence anymore. Especially considering how the man was cured. The circumstances required for the "cure" to work are outrageously rare, and right now, the chances of it working for anyone else are slim.
05/18/2012
oldman oldman
Holding someone responsible for INTENTIONALLY infecting another with a potentially (probably) fatal disease is not comprable to "tripping over a rock". It is more like picking up a large rock and INTENTIONALLY bashing someone's head in that leads to the death or serious injury to the person.

If a person is UNAWARE that he is infected and UNINTENTIALLY passes on an infection, that is not a criminal offense. However, once he/she is aware of their condidion and CONTINUES to engage in behaviors that will pass on the infection, it becomes criminal.

The US government for many, many years has mandated that a newly diagnosed case of TB (positive reaction PLUS positive on X-Ray and/or sputum cultures) that they be quarantined for 10 days while receiving treatment and after that they are followed by the public health departments to be sure they receive and are taking proper medication. FYI, at its "heyday", tuberculosis, without treatment, was approximately 50% fatal. It is a highly infectious, but successfully treatable, disease.
05/18/2012
unfulfilled unfulfilled
I think that one shouldn't intentionally spread anything from the common flu to deadly diseases. You can't force anyone to take their medicine though regardless of what it is helping to overcome.
05/20/2012
Youssii Youssii
I think there's a difference between knowingly giving someone a disease, and intentionally doing it.
To quote one example, someone I know who is HIV positive worked as a male prostitute in a third world country. He couldn't afford to pay for his medication and buy condoms, so he knowingly infected men with HIV; but he didn't intentionally do it - he only intended to be able to get his drugs and to feed himself, which is not something I can condemn as wrong, but simply unfortunate.
05/20/2012
indiechick indiechick
Quote:
Originally posted by Sex Positivity
This isn't necessarily true. HIV is no longer the death sentence it one was. We're this still the epidemic in the 90's, I'd completely agree with the claim of murder. But now we have one man who has been effectively CURED of AIDS, ... More
it is not necessarily a death sentence...in the same way that it used to be. But it does shorten life span. and it does depend on who gets infected. I already have a very serious auto-immune disease. If I were to contract HIV it would be a death sentence, because the meds I am on do not play with with other auto-immune drugs. I would have to choose what would kill me, but it would kill me. Are some lives more important than others?

It is worse. Most STIs have treatments and are curable..until there is a cure fro HIV it is a death sentence no matter how good the drugs are it is a death sentence.


Also mental patients who are a harm to themselves are forced to take their meds...HIV patients could be considered a HARM to others and should be required by law in the same manner to take their meds.
05/20/2012
Sex Positivity Sex Positivity
Quote:
Originally posted by indiechick
it is not necessarily a death sentence...in the same way that it used to be. But it does shorten life span. and it does depend on who gets infected. I already have a very serious auto-immune disease. If I were to contract HIV it would be a death ... More
I didn't mean to insinuate that some lives are more valuable than others at all. I hadn't thought of auto immune diseases, but you bring up a good point. However, that makes it even more important for you to be aware of your partners' statuses before engaging in any sexual contact with them.

But I'd like to reiterate that HIV/AIDS isn't the same as it used to be, and it doesn't ALWAYS shorten life span. It depends on each individual with the disease - as you said - but with simple pills that are becoming more affordable, people diagnosed with HIV and AIDS don't have to live a shortened life at all. It can be just as long and as healthy as anyone else's.

As for most STDs/STIs, they actually don't have cures or even vaccines. Herpes is still incurable. So is HPV and Hepatitis B. All of them are treatable, though, just like HIV is. You can still live long, happy, healthy life with STDs. And when you're careful, there's no worry about them.

As for people who are mentally ill (mental patients is a derogatory phrase) who are a danger to themselves, they are not always forced to take their medications. It depends on if they are seeing a therapist regularly, seeing a doctor regularly, are able to be out and about in public, etc. When they are forced to take their medications, the longest that a psych ward can hold them is 72 hours without a court order, which is long enough to dope them up with their medications and then send them out on the streets, where they either become the victim of a crime or commit one.

We have no business interfering with anyone else's health unless they are harming other people. Would you force someone with Measles to take medication if they didn't want to? No, probably not. But you might if they were going to be coming to work with you or taking care of your children.
05/21/2012
indiechick indiechick
Quote:
Originally posted by Sex Positivity
I didn't mean to insinuate that some lives are more valuable than others at all. I hadn't thought of auto immune diseases, but you bring up a good point. However, that makes it even more important for you to be aware of your partners' ... More
we do agree here. I just believe that with HIV it is on a greater scale and I think you would agree with me that if you can get someone sick by a certain type of contact that you should A: have to abstain from that type of contact or B: you should have to have treatment. But of those who have knowledge of their disease are knowingly risking the health of others the courts have every right to get involved.

I know better than to put mental patient I just wasn't thinking sorry.

Other things;
Over 75% of those with HPV will clear up the disease on their own, our bodies are mostly amazing things.
05/21/2012
Sex Positivity Sex Positivity
Quote:
Originally posted by indiechick
we do agree here. I just believe that with HIV it is on a greater scale and I think you would agree with me that if you can get someone sick by a certain type of contact that you should A: have to abstain from that type of contact or B: you should ... More
But, regardless of people being monitored and forced to take their meds - the disease can still be spread! It's a very slippery slope we're walking.
05/21/2012
Missy May Missy May
Wow. That really made me think. I'm going to share this with the husband.
05/21/2012
corsetsaurus rex corsetsaurus rex
Quote:
Originally posted by indiechick
If someone is KNOWINGLY a carrier of a life-threatening disease and they KNOWNINGLY pass it on to partner, they should be held responsible for basically MURDRERING another individual...it can be a slow death..but it is still technically MURDERING ... More
I very much agree with indie here - intentionally infecting someone with a deadly disease is akin to small-scale biological warfare. This is abhorrent and should be punished as such.
05/21/2012
Khanner Khanner
That's great news about the generic antiviral drugs. But no, it's not the government's business to force people to take drugs. If someone just wants to let nature take its course or doesn't want the side effects, it should be their choice to say no.

That said, intentionally infecting someone with a deadly disease should be punishable.
05/21/2012
Sangsara Sangsara
it really depends on the circumstances. if the court can prove that intentional malice took place and its a disease that maims or kills or permanently affects quality of life then perhaps.
05/21/2012
FabBillie FabBillie
The law already makes a distinction between crimes of intent and accident, e.g. the difference between a murder and a manslaughter charge. And there is already a legal precedent for prosecuting people who intentionally infect people with HIV.
However, it's a slippery slope to mandate what health care a person gets for themselves, especially if there weren't any social programs in place to make it easier for HIV-positive people to afford their drugs. I think extending the law beyond punishment for intentionally infecting people with HIV to punishing people who don't take certain drugs would end up being just another way for the powers that be to victimize and marginalize queer people, minorities, and addicts (who benefit from medical and psychological programs, not prison time).
05/22/2012
Airen Wolf Airen Wolf
Quote:
Originally posted by Rayne Millaray


This week in sex, as Roland Hulme told us, we had two interesting disease-related developments.

The first awesome announcement was that the patent on Combivir, an anti-viral medication that is believed to reduce the risk of infecting ... More
We have already decided that we cannot force mentally ill patients to take their medications but we can hold them responsible or at the very least lock them away if they hurt someone while in a deluded state...knowingly. It's a fine line to walk and I do not envy judges or juries that must decide these things.
Intentionally infecting someone should be as much of a crime as shoving a knife into someone's spine! It's still harming someone intentionally. Where the line gets drawn is an issue I wrestle with. Infecting someone with a curable disease is still criminal as far as I am concerned...what if the "cure" cannot be obtained by the ill due to their unique body chemistry? I worry about these things...
I think the operative word here is 'intentionally' infecting others...if you don't know you are sick or you do your best but someone still gets ill I don't think that is criminal. At the same time I know I would still be very angry.
05/22/2012
FabBillie FabBillie
Quote:
Originally posted by Airen Wolf
We have already decided that we cannot force mentally ill patients to take their medications but we can hold them responsible or at the very least lock them away if they hurt someone while in a deluded state...knowingly. It's a fine line to walk ... More
The "if you do your best but someone still gets ill" part is where the unenviable job of the legal system comes in. Intent can be a very tricky thing to prove, and I agree that I don't envy any judges or juries deciding that kind of case.
05/22/2012
Total posts: 23
Unique posters: 16