Circumcision Protects Against HIV and Infections
July 23, 2009
Circumcised men have up to 60 percent lower incident of HIV. That’s because the foreskin has a relatively high numbers of target cells for HIV infection. It’s also more likely to tear during sex,providing an entry route for HIV.
“Removing the foreskin removes the main site of HIV entry into the penis,”says HIV researcher Professor Roger Short, from the Department of Obstetric & Gynaecology at the University of Melbourne. “ Circumcision’s protective effect is proven beyond doubt.”
HIV Transmission: Is It a Criminal Act?
July 03, 2009
The transmission of HIV infection continues to occur at a steady pace in the United States. Here are the latest transmission figures for the United States, based on transmission route:
• Male-to-male sexual contact (MSM) - 22,472
• Injection drug use (IVDU) - 4,939
• MSM / IVDU - 1,260
• Heterosexual contact - 13,627
• Other risks / risk not identified - 35,180
As these numbers show, HIV transmission continues. It's not known just how many of the heterosexual transmissions listed are a result of non-disclosure events. However, surveillance figures estimate that about 25% of people infected with HIV are not aware of their infection -- a statistic that some believe contributes to most of the heterosexual infections and is associated with non-disclosure sexual contact.
Why Should HIV Transmission be Criminalized?
It doesn't take much of an imagination to figure out the argument for criminalizing HIV transmission. Obviously, intentionally choosing not to disclose HIV infection to sexual partners puts the partner in harms way. In fact, some supporters of criminalizing HIV transmission equates the severity of the crime to that of someone who places a gun to the head of another. In the minds of supporters, any action or inaction that harms or could harm another should be a criminal act; this includes infecting someone with HIV.
Some supporters of criminalizing HIV cite the harm non-disclosure can cause to the community as a whole. Without disclosure, more and more people will be infected with HIV, meaning the public health has been jeopardized by the failure to disclose. Simply put, supporters of criminalization say those guilty of non-disclosure and infection should be prosecuted because their act harms the individual and endangers the state of public health in the community.
Why Should We Not Criminalize HIV Transmission?
Those opposing criminalizing HIV transmission offer several reasons for why they feel it is a bad idea. In their opinion, laws that criminalize HIV:
• do nothing to reduce the rate of HIV infection
• undermine prevention efforts by deterring people from being tested
• add to the fear and stigma that follow HIV positive people
• punish even under circumstances that are not blameworthy
• are often applied unfairly and inconsistently
Situations Where Punishment is Called For
Even the most staunch opposers of criminalizing HIV transmission admit that, under certain circumstances, those who transmit HIV with the intent to do harm should be punished. But, they also believe that there are laws already on the books that can be used to prosecute these rare few. They propose that laws that are specific to HIV transmission will only have a negative impact on HIV infected people and prevention efforts across the country and around the world.
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