The activist arm of TIM needs your support. NSW Health has changed the Public Health Act so that ANYONE with HIV or an STI who doesn’t take “reasonable precautions” can be sent to prison for up to 6 months and/or fined $11,000.
This is a HUGE backward step in the fight to end HIV. No-one is saying that a person that willfully and intentionally goes around attempting to infect others should get off without intervention: we still have laws that exist to prevent grievous bodily harm etc (imperfect for PLHIV as that is).
However, this change means that ANYONE who has HIV or an STI is under threat of this incredibly heavy-handed punishment. This has been proven to actually discourage people from getting tested, and according to the World Health Organisation “may actually increase rather decrease HIV transmission.”
Currently, what counts as “reasonable precautions” is determined on a case by case basis by the magistrate. Could it be disclosing your status? Always using condoms? Having an undetectable viral load? All three? We don’t know because it’s terribly unclear.
The bottom line is we know People Living with HIV are not villains, but this change to the Public Health Act will fuel stigma, discrimination, and fear. It’s more of the same awful stuff that has seen us be painted as the bad guys for decades. And we need NSW Health to back down.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY: No matter what state or country you live in, you can write to Hon. Brad Hazzard and politely let him know your concerns. A template letter, written by one concerned member of TIM, can be found here.
And while you’re here, why not share this meme and let others know about the issue?
E: nic AT theinstituteofmany.org