April 09, 2013
Boston College Cracks Down on Safe Sex Group's Distribution of Condoms
The New York Times: Ban on Free Condoms Jeopardizes Group’s Work With Catholic College, by Jess Bidgood:
Chelsea Lennox, a junior at Boston College, the Gothic university overlooking this natty Boston suburb, picked up a bouquet of brightly colored condom packages and put them into the envelope that she views as a tiny beacon of sexual health resources at the deeply Catholic institution.
“We have S.T.I. facts, birth control choices, how to choose one, and then Planned Parenthood locations and resources,” Ms. Lennox said of the contents, ready for distribution. . . .
April 04, 2013
NGOs Challenge Speech-Related Conditions Placed on Federal Funds for Global HIV/AIDS Prevention
SCOTUSblog - SCOTUS for law students: SCOTUS for law students: Prostitution and Free Speech, by Stephen Wermiel:
Prostitution seems like an unlikely topic for a battle over freedom of speech, but that is precisely the focus of an important case to be argued in late April that tests the limits of the federal government’s ability to attach conditions to federal spending.
The case is Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International, Inc., to be argued on April 22.
The dispute involves a challenge by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to regulations implementing a federal law that provides funds to help combat the spread of HIV and AIDS throughout the world. . . .
February 27, 2013
Atli Stannard on Criminalization of Failure to Disclose HIV-Positive Status in Canada
Atli Stannard has posted When Failure to Disclose HIV-Positive Status Vitiates Consent to Sex in Canada on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
A number of
jurisdictions have grappled with a particularly difficult question in respect
of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV): when does failure to disclose that
one is HIV-positive, combined with engaging in otherwise consensual sexual
relations, make that act of engagement in sex a criminal offence?
In two recent cases, the Supreme Court of Canada examined this question. The cases ultimately turned on rather different matters, but were heard in tandem. This case note focuses first on Mabior, then outlines its “sister case” of D.C. Together, they provide a good understanding of the current Canadian approach to the criminalisation of exposure to HIV without disclosure – treating it as a sexual offence, rather than an offence against the person. The case note draws out the "Williams Paradox" and the use of statistics in the cases. It compares the Canadian approach to that in England and Wales, Australia, and New Zealand. . . .
January 27, 2013
Medical Groups Encourage Screening for Reproductive Coercion
Medical News Today: Reproductive Coercion Common in Abusive Relationships, by Kelly Fitzgerald:
Adolescent girls and women should now be screened for reproductive coercion, a form of abuse that occurs when male partners sabotage their contraception intentionally.
This form of abuse, known as reproductive coercion, can manifest in several ways, such as deliberately giving a partner a sexually transmitted disease (STIs), forcing a partner to have an undesired abortion or pregnancy, or seizing control of a woman's contraceptive pills. . . .
January 06, 2013
Guttmacher Institute Releases 2012 State Policy Review on Reproductive Health and Rights
Guttmacher Institute: Laws Affecting Reproductive Health and Rights: 2012 State Policy Review:
Reproductive health and rights was once again the subject of extensive debate in state capitols in 2012. Over the course of the year, 42 states and the District of Columbia enacted 122 provisions related to reproductive health and rights. One-third of these new provisions, 43 in 19 states, sought to restrict access to abortion services. Although this is a sharp decrease from the record-breaking 92 abortion restrictions enacted in 2011, it is the second highest annual number of new abortion restrictions. . . .
January 6, 2013 in Abortion, Contraception, Fetal Rights, Mandatory Delay/Biased Information Laws, Pregnancy & Childbirth, Scholarship and Research, Sexuality Education, Sexually Transmitted Disease, State Legislatures, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP), Teenagers and Children | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
November 20, 2012
Federal Court Ruling Expected on Alabama Policy Isolating Inmates with H.I.V.
The New York Times: Ruling Soon on Isolation of Inmates With H.I.V., by Robbie Brown:
ATLANTA — In his first week in prison in Alabama, Albert Knox, a former pimp convicted of cocaine possession, tested positive for H.I.V.
Afterward, he says, guards called out “dead man walking” as he passed through the halls. He was banned from eating in the cafeteria, working around food or visiting with classmates in his substance-abuse program. . . .
October 17, 2012
Benjamin Meier, Kristen Brugh, and Yasmin Halima on Human Rights Based Approach to Global HIV/AIDS Policy
Benjamin Mason Meier (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), Kristen Nicole Brugh (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), & Yasmin Halima have posted Conceptualizing a Human Right to Prevention in Global HIV/AIDS Policy on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Given current constraints on universal treatment campaigns, recent advances in public health prevention initiatives have revitalized efforts to stem the tide of HIV transmission. Yet despite a growing imperative for prevention — supported by the promise of behavioral, structural, and biomedical approaches to lower the incidence of HIV — human rights frameworks remain limited in addressing collective prevention policy through global health governance. Assessing the evolution of rights-based approaches to global HIV/AIDS policy, this review finds human rights to have shifted from collective public health to individual treatment access. While the advent of the HIV/AIDS pandemic gave meaning to rights in framing global health policy, the application of rights in treatment access litigation came at the expense of public health prevention efforts. Where the human rights framework remains limited to individual rights enforced against a state duty bearer, such rights have faced constrained application in framing population-level policy to realize the public good of HIV prevention. Concluding that human rights frameworks must be developed to reflect the complementarity of individual treatment and collective prevention, this article conceptualizes collective rights to public health, structuring collective combination prevention to alleviate limitations on individual rights frameworks and frame rights-based global HIV/AIDS policy to assure research expansion, prevention access, and health system integration.
September 22, 2012
Anna Carpenter on Women and HIV/AIDS Prevention
Anna E. Carpenter (Georgetown University Law Center) has posted Women and HIV/AIDS: Towards a Jurisprudence of Social and Economic Rights on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
This article argues that traditional HIV/AIDS prevention efforts focused on addressing individual risk factors are not sufficient to end the spread of the disease among women. Rather, systemic factors rooted in economic and gender inequality are the primary drivers of the HIV epidemic among women. As a result, the U.S. response to HIV/AIDS must address these factors, namely poverty and violence. The article then argues for a commitment to a social and economic rights framework as a key part of efforts to end the HIV epidemic. The social and economic rights critical to ending the HIV epidemic are those that would lift women and their families out of poverty, help them secure stable housing, give them the economic means to leave violent relationships, and give them access to health care. These rights include a right to a minimum level of economic support, a right to housing, and a right to health. The article finally articulates how a positive rights framework would offer descriptive, practical, and aspirational benefits necessary to eradicate the HIV epidemic among U.S. women.
Scott Burris and Matthew Weait on Criminalization and Moral Responsibility for Knowing Sexual Transmission of HIV
Scott Burris (Temple University – James E. Beasley School of Law) and Matthew Weait (University of London – Birkbeck College, School of Law) have posted Criminalisation and Moral Responsibility for the Sexual Transmission of HIV on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
The essay that follows is an
effort to take on a narrow but important question in a serious, though limited,
way. The question is whether there is a MORAL case for lifting primary
responsibility for Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention from the
shoulders of those who know they are infected. The question is important
because, for many people, it feels so obviously right to require those with HIV
to accept this responsibility that punishing them as criminals if they fail to
do so seems a natural, logical and entirely fair next step. As far as we can
tell, objections to HIV exposure or transmission laws to date have rested on
practical, rather than moral concerns. We will ask whether there is a good
moral case to be made against criminalisation.
There are two important things we will not do. We will not address the use of criminal law to deter or punish people who deliberately expose others to HIV with the aim of causing harm or with callous disregard of a significant risk of transmission. Like other commentators, we regard trying to harm others as wrongful and subject to prosecution regardless of the weapon used; our only concern in such a case, from the HIV perspective, is that a defendant not be punished more harshly only because the chosen weapon was the virus3 The second thing we will not do is attempt a moral analysis that is culturally comprehensive. The people of the world have developed many powerful systems of moral thought. We investigate our moral question within just one, the Western tradition of deontological ethics and liberal political philosophy. Our purpose is not, ultimately, to define for all people and all places a morality of HIV exposure, but to test whether the case for assigning primary moral responsibility for HIV to the person infected is as strong as it is assumed to be.
June 11, 2012
WHO and CDC Warn Gonorrhea Could Become Uncurable
U.S. News and World Report: World Health Organization warns Gonorrhea Could Join HIV as 'Uncurable', by Jason Koebler:
Both the WHO and the CDC say it's time to "sound the alarm" on the increase in drug-resistant gonorrhea
First, it was the Centers for Disease Control—now, the World Health Organization is warning that Gonorrhea could join herpes and HIV/AIDS as "uncurable" sexually-transmitted diseases.
"We're sitting on the edge of a worldwide crisis," says Manjula Lusti-Narasimhan, of WHO's department of reproductive health and research. "There's a general complacency around sexually transmitted infections in general, and this doesn't have the same political or social pressure as HIV. That's because gonorrhea has been so easily curable so far, but in the future, that won't be the case.". . .
May 03, 2012
The New York Times Posts Query About NYC's New Sex Education Classes
The New York Times - Schoolbook: Is New Sex Education Course Too Much or Just Enough?:
Last summer the Department of Education decided that for the first time in nearly two decades, students in New York City’s public middle and high schools would be required to take sex-education classes beginning this school year, using a curriculum that includes lessons on how to use a condom and the appropriate age for sexual activity. At East Side High Community School, the school newspaper, The East Sider, wrote about the new course in its January issue, before the course had started. The article, below, has been lightly edited.What do you think about the new sex education classes? Do you think they go too far? How are they being introduced in your school? Respond to our query below. . . .
March 12, 2012
Study Shows What Happens When College Students Can't Obtain Subsidized Birth Control
Slate: The Aspirin Strategy: What happens to college sex when you stop subsidizing birth control?, by William Saletan:
Rush Limbaugh has a solution for women who have trouble affording contraception: Have less sex. Instead of asking your employer or college to provide insurance that covers birth control, pay for your birth control yourself. Or get your boyfriend to pay for it. Or just keep your knees together so you won’t have to worry about getting pregnant. . . .
[T]here’s evidence that many college women . . . have done what Limbaugh suggested. Faced with a contraceptive price hike in 2007, they cut back on sex. And yet, the rate of accidental pregnancy among college women didn’t decline. In fact, among those who were financially stressed, the rate increased, apparently because many of them responded to the higher cost of birth-control pills by shifting to cheaper, riskier methods, or to unprotected sex. . . .
February 26, 2012
Mary Fan on Decentralizing STD Surveillance
Mary D. Fan (University of Washington School of Law) has posted Decentralizing STD Surveillance: Toward Better Informed Sexual Consent on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Historically, sexually transmitted diseases have been treated as an affliction of the morally degenerate Other and the consequence of deviation from the dominant sexual culture. Sexual culture and our national sexual health have, however, evolved. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs, also referred to as STIs) are widespread and spreading. Transmission is facilitated by social, cultural and technological shifts. These social shifts strain our STD surveillance polices and laws, which remain strongly shaped by the inherited paradigm of the past. Information and power is centralized in the state, which receives, stores, and sometimes acts -- albeit with increasing infrequency in a time of severe budgetary strain -- on information reluctantly reported by health care providers. Because of targeted intervention and concentrated surveillance in low-income health settings, socially and economically marginalized groups continue to bear the heaviest burden of surveillance. Sexual culture shifts and the resulting health ramifications, however, cut across traditional social categories such as class, age, sexual orientation, and race.
This article explores how public health policies can respond to changing sexual culture and the need for more reliable information sharing by facilitating voluntary test results sharing and priority flagging of actors most in need of intervention. The Article advocates for utilizing the better vantage of doctors to identify potentially problematic actors based on reports by patients, in the privacy of the doctor’s office, about individuals who endangered their health. In a time when budget-strapped public health authorities are in triage mode and unable to engage in contact-tracing for all cases, a priority flag approach would be more efficient in identifying potentially problematic actors in need of stronger surveillance and educational intervention. This method of identification is also salutary because it relies on accounts of behavior warranting concern, rather than on heuristics about who is high-risk that may reinforce old stigmas and stereotypes.
February 06, 2012
Carissima Mathen and Michael Plaxton on HIV, Consent, and Criminal Culpability
Over a decade has elapsed since, in R. v. Cuerrier, the Supreme Court of Canada concluded that those who knowingly fail to disclose HIV positive status to their sexual partners are criminally culpable. Since then, the use of the criminal law in these circumstances has been criticized. It is suggested, in particular, that advances in the treatment of HIV-AIDS render several of Cuerrier’s key premises tenuous and in need of reconsideration. The Supreme Court has created an opportunity for such reconsideration in two appeals: R. v Mabior and R. v. DC. In this article we suggest that the Court should reconsider Cuerrier in a fundamentally different way, engaging more squarely with the boundaries of sexual assault. We believe that much of the criticism of Cuerrier, while thoughtful and important, proceeds from questionable premises of criminal responsibility that carry serious implications for the concept of consent to sexual activity.
January 25, 2012
Doctors Without Borders Warns that up to 15,000 AIDS Victims in Congo May Die Within 3 Years
Voice of America: Thousands of AIDS Victims Face Death in Congo:
A medical aid group has warned that up to 15,000 AIDS victims in Democratic Republic of Congo could die in the next three years because of difficulty getting life-saving drugs.
The warning comes from Doctors Without Borders, which says access to health care for HIV and AIDS patients in Congo is “horrific.” It says 85 percent of an estimated 350,000 people who could benefit from antiretroviral drugs are not receiving them. . . .
11th Circuit to Hear Case of HIV-Positive Man Denied a Job by Atlanta Police Department
GA Voice: HIV-positive man not hired by Atlanta Police Department to have case heard in federal appeals court, by Dyana Bagby:
The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday will hear the case of of a 37-year-old man who says the city of Atlanta called him a "direct threat" to others and he was denied a job with the Atlanta Police Department because he is HIV-positive.
Lambda Legal is representing the man, identified as "Richard Roe" in court documents to protect his identity.
A U.S. District Court ruled in favor of the city of Atlanta, saying the city did not discriminate against the HIV-positive man. Lambda Legal states that by calling Roe a "direct threat" the city did break federal law. . . .
Benjamin Meier and Alicia Yamin on Right to Health Litigation and HIV/AIDS Policy
This article sketches the evolving interaction between human rights case law and HIV/AIDS policy. To clarify the need for such analysis, this article discusses the promise of human rights litigation in providing accountability for state public health commitments. Given the promise of this litigation in realizing public health outcomes, this article reviews the origins and development of human rights jurisprudence for HIV/AIDS. With this enforcement movement facing increasing criticism for distorting the global health governance agenda, the authors examine the backlash against this human rights jurisprudence in setting HIV/AIDS policy. This article concludes that scholars and practitioners must engage in comparative analyses of these rights-based litigation strategies and empirical research on their public health impacts. . . .
January 16, 2012
NYC Teen Sex Public Service Announcement Causes Stir
After a new set of public service announcements from the Community Healthcare Network about sex caused a minor stir, Inside City Hall’s Errol Louis spoke with Catherine Abate, the CEO and president of the clinic, and Anthony Murray, a senior at University Heights High School who co-wrote and co-directed one of the PSAs.
New York Daily News: Safe sex web series launches using city teens speaking in slang using terms like 'Raw Dogging', by Simone Weichselbaum:
A new web series starring city teens talking racy street lingo about safe sex, STDs, and pregnancy will air Thursday.
“More Than Just Sex” features five public service announcement-styled videos on the popular site Vimeo.com where baby-faced actors use terms like “raw dogging” to describe not wearing a condom. . . .
November 29, 2011
Fighting HIV Stigma in the Rural South
CNN: Pastor fights HIV stigma in Southern town, by Jacque Wilson:
. . . It's a problem all across the Bible Belt. In 2007 -- the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- the rate of diagnosed AIDS cases in the Southeastern United States was much higher than in other regions of the country: 9.2 per 100,000 people, versus 2.5 in the Midwest, 3.9 in the West and 5.6 in the Northeast.
Rural areas like this have it particularly bad. The CDC reports that while HIV diagnoses have slowly decreased in metropolitan areas since 1985, rural areas are still showing an increase because of stigma, poor education and a lack of funding. . . .
November 28, 2011
Man, Free of HIV After Bone Marrow Transplants, Offers Hope of Cure for AIDS
The New York Times: New Hope of a Cure for H.I.V., by Andrew Pollack:
Medical researchers are again in pursuit of a goal they had all but abandoned: curing AIDS.
Until recently, the possibility seemed little more than wishful thinking. But the experiences of two patients now suggest to many scientists that it may be achievable.
One man, the so-called Berlin patient, apparently has cleared his H.I.V. infection, albeit by arduous bone marrow transplants. . . .