When you test positive for HIV, it can be difficult to know who to tell about it, and how to tell them. Take your time to decide who to tell and how you will approach them. It can be very difficult to disclose your status to sexual partners or people you shared needles with.
However, it is hiv positive dating important that they know so they can decide to get tested and, if they test positive, get the health care they need. The Department of Health can tell people you might have exposed, without using your name.
You may want to tell your employer if your HIV illness or treatments interfere with your job performance. Get a letter from your doctor that explains what you need to do for your health taking medications, rest periods, etc.
Talk with your boss or personnel director. Tell them you want to continue working, and what changes may be needed in your hiv positive dating or workload. Make sure they understand if you want to keep your HIV status confidential. As long as you can do the essential functions of your job, your employer can not legally discriminate against you because of your HIV status. When you apply for a new job, employers are not allowed to ask about your health or any disabilities, hiv positive dating.
They can only legally ask if you have any condition that would interfere with essential job functions. It can be difficult to decide whether to tell your parents, children, or other relatives that you are HIV-positive. Many people fear that their relatives will be hurt or angry. Others feel that not telling relatives will weaken their relationships and may keep them from getting the emotional support and love that they want.
It can be very stressful to keep an important secret from people you are close to. Family members may want to know how you were exposed to HIV. Decide if or how you will answer questions about how you got infected.
Your relatives may appreciate knowing that you are getting good health care, that you are taking care of yourself, and about your support network. If your providers, including dentists, know you have HIV, they should be able to give you more appropriate health care. If providers are likely to come in contact with your blood, you can remind them to put gloves on.
Dating can be very threatening for people with HIV. Fear of rejection keeps many people from talking about their HIV status. Sooner or later in a relationship, it will be important to talk about your HIV status. The longer you wait, the more difficult it gets. Telling others can be good because: You can get love and support to help you deal with your health. You can keep your close friends and loved ones informed about issues that are important to you.
You can get the most appropriate health care. You can reduce the chances of transmitting the disease to others. In many states, you can be found guilty of a felony for not telling a sexual partner you are HIV-positive before having intimate contact.
Telling others may be bad because: Others may find it hard to accept your health status. Some people might discriminate against you because of your HIV. You may be rejected in social or dating situations. Know why you want to tell them. What do you want from them? The worst you might have to deal with?
Prepare by informing yourself about HIV disease. You may want to leave articles or a hotline phone number for the person you tell. Talk it over with someone you trust, and come up with a plan.
This story was co-published with BuzzFeed. Nick Rhoades was clerking at a Family Video store in Waverly, Iowa, one summer afternoon in when three armed detectives appeared, escorted him to a local hospital and ordered nurses to draw his blood.
Nick Rhoades was HIV-positive. They pull the gun. They have done an armed robbery. But you created a situation that was just as dangerous as anyone who did that. The man Rhoades had sex with, year-old Adam Plendl, had not contracted the virus. And medical records show he was taking antiviral drugs that suppressed his HIV, making transmission extremely unlikely.
But for the rest of his life — he is 39 — he will remain registered as an aggravated sex offender who cannot be alone with anyone under the age of 14, not even his nieces and nephews. Over the last decade, there have been at least cases in which people were convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, criminal charges for not disclosing that they were HIV-positive, according to a ProPublica analysis of records from 19 states.
The national tally is surely higher, because at least 35 states have laws that specifically criminalize exposing another person to HIV. In 29 states, it is a felony. None of the laws require transmission to occur. Defendants in these cases were often sentenced to years — sometimes decades — in prison, even when they used a condom or took other precautions against infecting their partners. In 60 cases for which extensive documentation could be obtained, ProPublica found just four involving complainants who actually became infected with HIV.
People with HIV have even done time for spitting, scratching or biting. Many law enforcement officials and legislators defend these laws, saying they deter people from spreading the virus and set a standard for disclosure and precautions in an ongoing epidemic.
Even many people with HIV support the laws. In a recent survey of HIV-positive people in New Jersey , 90 percent said that people with the virus bore most of the responsibility to protect their partners.
Nick Rhoades, in his home in Waterloo, Iowa on Nov. Stephen Mally for ProPublica. But some health and legal experts say using criminal penalties to curtail the epidemic could backfire and fuel the spread of HIV. According to the CDC , 1. So relying on a partner to know, let alone disclose, their HIV status is a risky proposition. The laws, these experts say, could exacerbate this problem: If people can be imprisoned for knowingly exposing others to HIV, their best defense may be ignorance.
Such laws, then, provide a powerful disincentive for citizens to get tested and learn if they carry the virus. They can just wait for their partner to reveal their status and not, instead, take steps to protect themselves. Schoettes also says that the laws unfairly single out HIV, further stigmatizing and reinforcing misconceptions about living with the virus. Being HIV-positive can still carry a powerful stigma. Since July , the U.
Department of Justice has opened at least 49 investigations into alleged HIV discrimination. The department has won settlements from state prisons, medical clinics, schools, funeral homes, insurance companies, day care centers and even alcohol rehab centers for discriminating against HIV-positive people.
Individuals with HIV may also fear that news of their status will spread to third parties, leading to rejection, embarrassment or ostracism for themselves or even their loved ones. In September, a disability rights group accused the Pea Ridge, Ark. In romantic or sexual settings, people with HIV often report fear of rejection, abandonment and stigmatization.
He disclosed his HIV status on their second date. Vreeland and his girlfriend continued to date. Last spring, they married at a ceremony in the Bronx. And if we do have a kid, then I might die and leave my kid without a father, like I grew up without a mother.
In some cases, people with HIV have been met with violence — and even death — after disclosing their status. Last month, in Dallas, year-old Larry Dunn was sentenced to 40 years in prison for murdering his HIV-positive lover. Police said he used a kitchen knife to stab and kill Cicely Bolden, a year-old mother of two, after she told him about her HIV status. Until recently, criminal punishment was virtually unheard of for infectious diseases other than HIV. Federal and state officials have the authority to quarantine the sick to contain epidemics, but this power was typically granted to health authorities, who are versed in the latest science, not police and prosecutors.
Very few criminal statutes take aim at diseases. Those diseases are most prevalent among the same groups of marginalized people most at risk for HIV: Yet the laws may be unnecessary. In rare cases when someone intentionally tries to spread a virus, prosecutors have been able to put them away using ordinary criminal laws, such as assault or reckless endangerment.
In , a New York man named Nushawn Williams was accused of deliberately infecting at least 13 people, including two underage girls, with HIV. Williams pleaded guilty to two counts of statutory rape and one count of reckless endangerment. When his year sentence ended in , state officials kept him confined under laws that allow dangerous psychiatric patients to be locked up.
He remains behind bars. Even Plendl, the man Rhoades had sex with, thinks the law is too harsh. Do I think these laws need to be revisited? The government had already logged more than 16, AIDS cases and 8, deaths since the American epidemic began, mostly among gay men and drug users. At the time, not a single drug was approved to target HIV, and the diagnosis was, for many, a death warrant.
The next year, Georgia adopted a statute that made no mention of intent; it could be applied to anyone who did not disclose their HIV status before having sex or sharing needles.
In , the American Legislative Exchange Council , or ALEC — a conservative nonprofit that develops policy positions and drafts model bills for state legislatures — assembled a special HIV task force, which published a set of prototype statutes on subjects ranging from mandatory testing to insurance coverage. In the run up to passage, Jesse Helms — the late Republican senator from North Carolina — proposed an amendment that would have criminalized HIV-positive health care workers who failed to disclose their status to patients and made it a federal crime for anyone with HIV, as well as anyone who had ever used injection drugs or engaged in prostitution, to donate, sell or attempt to donate or sell blood, semen, tissues, organs or bodily fluids.
The act itself was named after a hemophiliac teenager from Indiana who became a national poster child for the AIDS crisis when he was expelled from middle school after contracting HIV from a tainted blood treatment. Defund services unless states passed legislation to safeguard their blood and organ donation networks.
By the end of the decade, copycat bills had passed in nine states, including Iowa, which enacted its law in At the same time, three states — Mississippi, Nebraska and Tennessee — have criminalized exposing someone to hepatitis B or C. At 3 that morning, the men struck up a conversation. Plendl invited Rhoades to meet him in Cedar Falls, roughly 30 miles south of Plainfield, where Plendl had just moved into a new apartment several blocks from campus. Eventually, they had sex. As he tells it, Plendl never planned to press charges against Rhoades.
He went to the hospital seeking a doctor who could prescribe him a short-term, emergency regimen of HIV drugs that, if started within 72 hours of exposure to the virus, can stop infection from taking root. But when the Sartori staff seemed clueless about the procedure, Plendl went to the emergency room at Covenant Medical Center in the neighboring town of Waterloo. There, Brandy Weida-Cooper, a registered nurse who was working the graveyard shift, admitted Plendl to the ER and, records show , made the call to involve police.
But I did not call the police; the hospital did. In a telephone interview, Weida-Cooper declined to explain what spurred her decision to alert authorities. A spokesman for Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare, the Roman Catholic nonprofit that owns both Covenant and Sartori, also declined to comment.
In any case, by 4: The more than instances documented by ProPublica in which people have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to HIV-specific laws since represents one of the largest collections of such cases ever assembled. Still, it is almost certainly a substantial undercount. The data was drawn from more than 1, records, including court files, police reports and registries of sex offenders and prisoners.
A full breakdown of the data is here. Some of the cases were originally compiled through public records requests made by the Sero Project; most were independently obtained by ProPublica. Despite its limitations, the material creates a rough portrait of how these laws have been applied through the years. Two of these four resulted in a conviction or guilty plea, one was dismissed, and the outcome of the last could not be determined.
For cases in which the route of potential transmission could be determined, the overwhelming majority involved sex. The circumstances and relationships in those cases confound stereotypes or preconceived notions: HIV-positive defendants and their accusers have included gay and straight couples in one-night stands, dating relationships or even years of marriage.
Cases have involved instances of sex between prisoners, rape and child abuse. In Waterloo, Iowa, year-old Donald Bogardus, a church-going, HIV-positive gay man who also suffers from cerebral palsy, recently pleaded guilty to charges of failing to disclose his status to a partner.
I was afraid he was going to blab it out to everybody. But I still regret not telling him. Even just the fear of prosecution has had consequences for people with HIV. Women, including many alleged sex workers, were the accused in almost a quarter of the convictions and guilty pleas for which gender could be determined.
Louis, Nigaila Gibbs was 20 years old when police arrested her during an undercover sting operation in Louis County police encouraged potential victims to come forward. Three clients stepped up to complain about Gibbs, but a police spokesman said no one was found to be infected or charged with soliciting a prostitute. In one case, the defendant was already in prison when he was charged with an HIV-related offense.
State police questioned the two inmates about whether the encounter was consensual, and both men agreed it was. But when Tompkins acknowledged that he had not disclosed his HIV-positive status to the other inmate, prosecutors accused him of felonious assault with HIV. Still, Tompkins pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of aggravated assault, adding an extra year to his sentence.
Immigrations and Customs Enforcement filed to detain him on immigration charges.
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