Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
E-newsletters
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join
Username:
Password:

Why Am I Public as a Criminalized HIV-Positive?

| 28 Comments
My own country, Norway, has been ranked by UNAIDS to be among the five worst U.N. countries to prosecute and put HIV-positive people behind bars.

When I first became diagnosed with HIV in 2010, it wasn't the end of the world to me. I was 38 years old back then and for 20 of them I had to relate to HIV in one way or another? I was only 19 the first time I heard that a previous partner of mine had developed AIDS. I puked of anxiety that day.

Later there has been a lot of stories like that. I've been lucky I guess? But of course it has forced me to relate to the obvious truth; this might very well happen to me some day. And so it did. Don't misunderstand. I'm not happy I got HIV, I'm just happy that when I did it was in 2010 because of all the knowledge we have today.

What I didn't know was how people with HIV could be prosecuted and convicted despite all that knowledge and new medication. Despite that adults agree to a sexual relationship with an HIV-positive. Despite that there's no transmission of the virus.

In my case I was terrified the first time I experienced someone actually threatening me with the police if I didn't do as I was told. The second time something like that happened I put up a fight and was reported to the police of breaking the penal code 155 which goes like this:

"He who with reasonable grounds to believe he is infected with a serious communicable disease, willfully or negligently infects or expose another to a risk of being infected, shall be punished with imprisonment up to 6 years in cases of willful violation and imprisonment for up to 3 years at negligent violation." (My translation)

I had no idea what I had coming. Friends turning their backs at me and my family were divided. And most important of all! I had a complete psychological breakdown that required help from professionals to conquer. (I haven't really ever recovered completely).

But after months of therapy and support from a small group of loyal friends, I was finally ready to make the biggest choice of my life. To fight back at what I could only see as a complete unreasonable system, made to protect the society from more infections, based on a great misunderstanding: That prosecuting people with HIV actually will keep the numbers of new infections down? Or to live the rest of my life knowing that anybody at anytime can take away my dignity and human right to a sexual life. Get real!

I'm not really against the society's right to prosecute and convict those very few individuals who willfully transmits HIV to a lot of others without getting any kind of consent. But it has to be proven without any reasonable doubt. Not like in many cases today where you are literally screwed in the justice system just because you have HIV.

I decided to go public with my story November 2011. A few months later I've been published in the biggest newspaper in Norway, been on the Norwegian Broadcasting corp. (both TV and radio) twice, given interviews to magazines, started my private blog (louisgay72.blogspot.com) and held public speeches several times, about this topic. So what's happened so far? Not much. Thought I would get a lot of shit thrown at me, but that hasn't happened? On the contrary, most people support me and say nice things to me? All which make me slowly believe that maybe (just maybe?) the general population are willing to listen to common sense after all?

If the politicians start to believe that they won't lose their voters even if they try to decriminalizing HIV. Things might go our way after all? I'm sure it's going to be a while yet before we get there, but I'm slightly optimistic, at least in Norway.

So these days, while I'm waiting for the State attorney office to decide whether they will prosecute me or not, I'm aiming even more for the general public and the politicians nationally and internationally. It's too late to have any regrets for me. It's either my way or the HIGHWAY.

Regards,
Louis Gay
HIV-positive
Norway

28 Comments

Show Comment(s)

Comments on Louis Gay's blog entry "Why Am I Public as a Criminalized HIV-Positive?"

Welcome to the poz blogs, Louis. Your courage in "going public" in Norway is admirable and I know it was shocking to many, but it is great that you are educating people. It was great to meet you in Oslo and I look forward to seeing you in Washington this summer. Maybe by then the Norwegian government will have taken action to stop these prosecutions.

My dear friend Louis. We're all living through stange times. You WILL! get through this!! I live in the US, poz 1990. If In can ever be of help, please let me know.....Daniel! Look for me on "Poz.com"!

A social media petition from around the world to the government of Norway may be helpful.

You sure are cute, are you sure you are HIV+? You sure look healthy and scrumptious...good enough to eat!!!! :)

Hang in there.

I think you are courageous and brave.

regards
Riaan
South Africa

Good luck with your activism.
Unfortunately, I've heard the situation is even worse in Sweden and Canada.

@nan burdin....what a really stupid and pathetic comment...do you think that people with HIV look different or unwell?

Your comment is part of the problem surrounding HIV. It's not a matter of how one looks to you or to anyone. The fact is the individual is chronically ill, and this should be acknowledged and treated with respect. "Are you sure you are HIV+?" I'm sure you're an idiot.

I was Gang-raped in San Francisco in 1981, I was left with syphilis, and HIV, or " GIDS" as it was called then; I'm sorry but my opinion is, if you got it; disclose it right there at the moment sex comes up! Otherwise you are a Criminal! I'm alone an awful lot; " because I'm brutal about it, I don't play Date rape games, I let every prospect know, most of the time; they don't return the favor, so?

I*m from the US and have lived in Norway for the past 6 years with my Norwegian husband. He's known since day one and has no problem with my HIV status. I remember I had to disclose this information in all the paperwork that was involved before we got married. I heard about the criminal prosecution aspect before from our local chapter of LLH. I don't see Norway persuing folks here like don't ask/ don't tell! As far as treatment of HIV in Norway, it's the best!Much better than the stupid bureacracy in the States. Pass deg og slapp av, du har en venn i Norge!

Louis,

You are very brave and courageous for going public in such an environment and I am sorry to hear it is your own country. I wish you all the best and you are in our thoughts. If only there were more people like you who worked for good instead of bad. Good luck to you.

Hi Louis

In Singapore are the same too. My support to you for your courages and bravery. I hope and prayed that you will win the case.

God Bless you and your honesty and bravery. You've done the right thing for your own life and for the lives of others. I am grateful to you for coming forward. I promise you years from now you won't regret it.

Much love, admiration and appreciation.


Anthony
Bryn Mawr, PA USA

I admire your courage and determination to enlighten the public about your situation. You are a beautiful person, you are a good man Louis. There are people who loves you and relates with you.

Congratulations for your great courage. GO ahead!!!

Louis, the safest thing you can do is not have unprotected sex with anyone. It appears you've met people and had unprotected sex after disclosing your HIV status; then threatened by the two sex partners later. I have been HIV+ since 1987. Unless I really get to know someone over a period of time and that person says they are not + I don't have unprotected sex with them. Remember you can be infected with a different strain of the virus that is untreatable by current HIV medications, so it is safer for you also.

Wishing you the best on both your health and with the authorities.

Um..I agree, and see no doubt that Louis Gay is very handsome, at least from what we could see. However within your comment lies another stigmatic myth of POZ people. Many of us, these days, cannot be perceived as being positive. In fact many of us "...look healthy and scrumptious...good enough to eat!!!!"

I would re-visit my thoughts about what living with HIV is really like these days. I wonder, did you understand the concept and underpinnings of the piece? It's about discriminatory acts against people living with HIV/AIDS and the mounting legal actions that may be taken against us. Even while looking healthy and scrumptious enough to eat.

Thank you for taking up the banner against a tide many of us may be facing at any time. Your fight is one against all of those who still are ignorant about POZ people, and who continue to consider us pariahs. Protection against HIV is everyone individual responsibility who is sexually active. People living with HIV/AIDS should not be held responsible for everyone else's sexual life.

Louis - kudos for your bravery in dealing with this witch hunt. I'm quite taken aback with this type of treatment in Norway. I was under the impression that in Scandinavia people were a bit more liberal and compassionate. If you ever feel the need to chat, please don't hesitate to contact me. P.S. Have discovered Norwegian crime fiction author Jo Nesbo and am quite infatuated with his writing. Hang in there.

Hi Louis,
It is great to have u fight for us all. All the government in the world should start understanding that HIV prevention is a shared responsibility which should not be left for those the POZ only.

janny.

Louis,

It's been said, but it bears repeating: Hang in there! Much appreciation to you for your courage. I've read all the comments thus far and there's a slightly mixed reaction. For the few who would scold you and possibly presume that you weren't forthcoming about your status, I say that it's ALL of our responsibility to keep ourselves safe from STDs. That onus doesn't just lie with those infected, especially with HIV/AIDS which can be stopped with the simple use of a condom. The same isn't true for every disease. Herpes is an example. With that in mind, I'm not *necessarily* of the mindset that HIV/AIDS needs to be disclosed, provided all parties are safe. We all need to stop the witch hunts.

GOD SPEED! STAY STRONG AND NEVER GIVE IN!!

Long Beach, California U.S.A

The idea that they can now put someone in jail, for this kind of thing regardless of the actual intent, or absence of same, its scary, because how do you deal with that issue.

So if you engage in a mutual consensual relationship with an adult, you can still be charged with a crime.

The truth is that if we do not come together and combat this, and that means fighting fire with fire, then eventually many will find themselves in camps, if you think that's impossible think again.

there are plenty of people in history that have found themselves interred in camps who had little idea that it would happen to them.

The only way to put an end to this kind of thing is to act proactively, that means filing a law suit designed to combat these ignorant AGs that allow this kind of abuse to proceed.

fighting fire with fire is the only way to stop them from criminalizing everything about HIV

I suppose I am not sure I understand your comment, "I'm not really against the society's right to prosecute and convict those very few individuals who willfully transmits HIV to a lot of others without getting any kind of consent."

In your mind, is it more acceptable if u only do it once? Does it have to be willfully transmitting HIV to a lot of others? Maybe I misunderstood.

1995 the protease inhibitors came out and people began to take the HAART cocktail;viral loads began to plumet. Many HIV+ persons have an undetectable viral load, making transmission rates practically non-existant. I'm not suggesting unprotected sex, but times have changed in the past 30 years; the laws need to change along with them. It is wrong to charge positive people with felonies with no proof an encounter has occered. ANYONE can get pissed and say you slept with them. This is bulls**t and I can't wait for the day when/if someone in the legal system has the balls to DO something about it! My heart goes out to you. I choose not to share why but I totally feel your pain.

Louis,

I feel you! You are in my prayers for justice to prevail for you. It is unbelievable that people living with HIV/AIDS are carrying everyone's burdern and responsibility.

As i said before,DISCLOSURE IS NOT THAT EASY. Why do we have to take the responsibility alone? Our governments are just charging people without thinking. WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS JUST LIKE ANYONE ELSE. If they really want to prevent HIV, they need to involve both parties.

It is time to change our conversations during dating- BOTH PARTIES TO TALK ABOUT HIV; THIS IS NOT A ONE PERSON BURDEN.

LOUIS, CAN YOU START A PETITION ON WWW.CHANGE.ORG- TO STOP YOUR PROSECUTION?

WE ARE ALL HUMAN BEINGS- IT IS CRUEL AND INHUMAN TO TARGET people living with HIV only. We are not animals, it is not our FAULT. I am angry by the way the system is treating us across the world.

Here in East Africa, the stigma itself is enough to kill you, but if you just hold on, things will be okay.

Louis,

Please update us about the new trial from last month, if there was one, or has it all vanished in the Norwegian snows?
Thank you!
Jonathan in S.F.

Leave a comment



Archives

 

Blog Roll

Subscribe to Blog

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Louis Gay published on March 7, 2012 2:23 PM.

Finally prosecuted by the State Attorney is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Disclaimer

The opinions expressed by the bloggers and by people providing comments are theirs alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart + Strong and/or its employees.

Smart + Strong is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information contained in the blogs or within any comments posted to the blogs.



© 2014 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy