Showing posts with label HIV Criminalization. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HIV Criminalization. Show all posts

October 21, 2018

Her Cheating Boyfriend Gave Her Love and HIV



 FROM: BBC

Diane Reeve and Philippe PadieuImage copyrighEVE

Diane Reeve didn't expect to find love again after her 18-year-long marriage fell apart. But in 2002, at the age of 50, she did. It turned out, though, that her new partner, Philippe Padieu, was sleeping around - and had given her HIV.
I'd kind of given up on love, but then a couple of people convinced me I was too young to do that and said I should get back out on the market - they suggested online dating. It was pretty brutal and I was just about to give up when I got an enquiry from Philippe.
It was just a brief, "I like your profile, would like to meet," but I was intrigued. He was French and very nice looking, and I thought, "OK, one last time, and that's it."
We met at my martial arts school - he was also a martial artist - and then we went over to a local restaurant and had drinks and appetisers and sat for an hour and talked. I was fascinated and I guess he was too.
He had cool stories and told me a lot about himself. That was kind of refreshing because usually it's the other way around, where the woman does all the talking, and I found that exhausting.
On that first date I was pretty interested in him, but I couldn't really tell if he was feeling the same thing. But then he made this one flirtatious comment and I thought, "Oh, OK, he is interested," and it went from there, we started dating fairly regularly.

Diane ReeveImage copyrightALYSSA VINCENT PHOTOGRAPHY
Image captionDiane and Philippe shared an interest in martial arts

Philippe was a security analyst for a large company but he was laid off a year after we started dating. While he was looking for a new job I asked him to help me out at the school. 
When he was teaching for me we'd usually go out after work and then spend the night together. We had had the talk about being exclusive pretty early on in the relationship, so I was seeing him three or four times a week and the rest of the time I was busy with the school. 
I was happy, he was happy, it was good, and we were together for four-and-half years.

presentational grey line

In 2006 my daughter was getting married and we had a wonderful ceremony. 
Philippe was there - he took a video of the big family occasion - and we were all going for a family dinner afterwards. But then he called me from his cellphone and said, "I can't go, I'm not feeling well."

Diane and her daughterImage copyrightDIANE REEVE

He didn't call from his home phone, which made me suspicious, and I was furious because the dinner was very important to me.
I went by myself, but on my way home I thought I'd go by Philippe's and check on this poor sick man who couldn't make it to my family dinner.
The door was locked, the house was dark, and his car wasn't there. I sat in the driveway and cried for a long time, and then I started to get angry.
Because I'd been paying for his cellphone I was able to get into his voicemail. Two different women had left him messages and it was obvious from the voicemails that these were women that he had plans with.
I waited for a good hour-and-a-half or more and then finally I saw him coming around the corner. 
When he saw my car he immediately sped away - he knew that something was up - so I followed him up and down the neighbourhood streets until he finally got on the highway. He was going 90 mph and I was right behind him. I thought, "I can chase you all night, I got a full tank of gas." 
Eventually he pulled over. I yelled and screamed and accused him of cheating. He said, "You shouldn't have hacked into my voicemail!" and it went back and forth. He was so angry and started beating on the car and that scared me, so I decided that was it.

Find out more

Diane Reeve spoke to Jo Fidgen on Outlook on the BBC World Service

We broke up on a Saturday. The following Monday I had a well-woman examination and when the results came back there were some anomalies in the cervical cells.
They said it was human papilloma virus (HPV). I'd never had that before so I knew that he had given it to me. That shocked me and made me afraid - I had to have surgery to remove the abnormal cells and I didn't know if it would progress into cancer or not.
I wondered if I should warn the other two women. I went back through the nine months' of Philippe's cellphone records that I had, trying to find them again. I would call numbers and whenever a woman answered, I would ask, "Are you seeing Philippe Padieu?" and if they said "Yes," I would say, "Well, I need to talk to you a little bit."
I found nine other women who were also seeing him that way.
Some of them were angry, some of them hung up on me, some of them were very interested, and some of them were appreciative - I got all kinds of different responses.
A lady who had been seeing Philippe, who lived close to him, was so angry that she and I decided to meet with another couple of women. We had quite an interesting lunch comparing notes and we took a picture of ourselves making an obscene gesture and sent it to him.

Quotebox: I dropped the phone and fell to my knees

There was another woman who I contacted later on. We met at a little jazz bar. She'd been seeing Philippe three times a week for about a-year-and-a-half. 
She did not have an exclusive relationship with him, but she was waiting for that to happen, I think. I told her everything that had happened to me - how romantic things had been with us for years, how we were building a house together, how we were going to move in together but then broke up. I told her about the HPV and that I was continuing to have health problems. 
She listened very intently to what I had to say. 
I said, "This is your decision and if you want to continue to see him then that's your business," and I thought that would be the last time we would talk.
Three months later I got a call from the health department who said that I needed to come in for testing. I panicked because I had been having a lot of health problems in addition to the abnormal cervical smear.
I had kept Philippe's phone in case somebody called and I could warn them too. I looked at it again after I was contacted by the health department and noticed that the last person to call it was the woman that I'd met at the jazz bar.
I called her and I said, "I just got a call from the health department, what can you tell me about this?" 
She said four words that I will never forget: "We need to talk."



Media captionDiane Reeve describes the moment she learned that her partner had infected her with HIV

She had continued to see Philippe after we'd met but she'd then decided to break it off. She'd started to worry about sexually transmitted diseases and had gone to get tested. Her doctor had called her and told her that there was bad news, she was living with HIV.
At that point I just knew that everything that I had gone through over the last six months - the health problems, not having any energy, things that I had attributed to getting a little bit older - all these puzzle pieces fitted together and I knew what I was facing. 
The next day I had an appointment with my gynaecologist and they took some blood. The following day they called me with the results.
"Diane, I'm sorry. It's positive."
I dropped the phone and fell to my knees. I thought I was going to die.
I had not followed HIV closely - I remembered when there was no cure, and I knew that there was medicine now, but I didn't really know how effective it was. And I knew that I was really, really sick.

Diane ReeveImage copyrightALYSSA VINCENT PHOTOGRAPHY
Image captionDiane Reeve today

That was January 2007.
When I went for further testing I found out that I had Aids. That means that your immune system is damaged to the point that you are very vulnerable to illness. Your body just won't fight back because the virus has damaged the cells which fight off infection. 
I had health insurance because I was self-employed; I had just changed policies about two months before I got the diagnosis. There was a disclaimer at the end of the policy which said, "Please be aware that we do not cover HIV," which I had signed happily, because I knew I didn't have HIV. Except two months later I found out that I did.
So I had insurance that did not pay for HIV and the medicine was about $2,000 (£1,500) a month and I couldn't afford it.
Almost immediately after getting the results I went to counselling. I really needed some help to process things. I was terribly depressed, I was very fearful and I was homicidally angry.
I decided to talk again to the woman I'd met at the jazz bar. We cried together, and we got angry together. When she had got her diagnosis she'd immediately called Philippe to let him know. He'd said: "Hey, no big deal, everybody dies of something. Why don't you just go and live your life and leave me alone?"
It was a very odd reaction for someone who should have been shocked.
We suspected that Philippe had given it to both of us and we thought there had to be something that could be done about it. We did some research and within weeks of my diagnosis we decided to file a police report.
We wanted the police to stop him. We wanted them to find out if he actually did carry the virus and we wanted to find out if there was something that we could do to keep him from hurting other women.
The police were very sympathetic and understanding but said that because there were only two of us we weren't going to be able to prove it. But if four or five women came forward, they said, then they might be able to get the district attorney to take a look. 

Philippe Padieu and Diane Reeve in a restaurantImage copyrightDIANE REEVE

We went back through the cellphone records. The first person I called was the woman who lived in Philippe's neighbourhood that I'd met earlier. She got tested and was also diagnosed with HIV. 
She helped us by watching the house and writing down licence plate numbers of cars that were in Philippe's driveway overnight. We were kept pretty busy because he was with a different woman every night, it was incredible. 
I had a friend that could run the licence tags and get a name and address, and once we had that we would go and visit them. 
Altogether, we found 13 women who were diagnosed with HIV.
I was devastated that this had been going on for so long. I'd been seeing Philippe since 2002, but some of the women I talked to pre-dated me and with a different car in the driveway every night countless women had been exposed. 
As the case progressed, the police department and the DA started to get involved. 
To try to prove that Philippe knew that he had been diagnosed the police set up what is called a pretext phone call. I sat at the police station and called him to try to get him to admit that he knew that he was living with HIV. It didn't go very well.
He said, "How the BLEEP did you get this number?" and it went downhill from there.
I said, "Hey, I heard that you weren't feeling well and I was just calling to check on you," and he hung up on me.

presentational grey line

There was a lady at the health department who was helping us track down the women. I'd asked her, "Have you ever seen this guy?" but nothing rang a bell.
Then I remembered that Philippe sometimes used an alias, the name Phil White, and she remembered that. The timeframe that she'd seen him was around the same time that I remembered sending him to the doctor because he felt like he had kidney stones.
I thought, "I wonder if that's when he got that diagnosis?" 
It was 2005, about a year-and-a-half before we broke up. He had gone to the doctor and had some tests done. 
I had paid for that medical treatment so I pulled those cheques and took them to the district attorney - that was the first time I ever saw her smile. The cheques gave her "probable cause" to subpoena the medical records - which she did. Without that it would have been very difficult if not impossible to obtain them, due to privacy laws - and that's how we proved that he'd been diagnosed with HIV.
Of the 13 women we found who were diagnosed with HIV only five agreed to testify in court, because of the stigma associated with the virus. We formed a support group and were able to meet at my house on a routine basis. We all got through it together. 
One motive for going through with it was that the state of Texas will pay for medical care that is needed as a result of a crime, and they were prosecuting Philippe for "assault with a deadly weapon". 
It was a long process, five to six months, of us tracking down women. Just about every day of the week we were on stake-out. It was exhausting - I still had Aids - but we were determined to stop him doing this to anybody else. 

Quotebox: "I suspect he had knowingly been transmitting HIV to women for years"

The trial finally began in 2009, three years after Philippe and I had broken up and two years after my diagnosis.
The district attorney had warned us that we would be raked over the coals, that anything that Philippe knew about us that was dirty laundry would be aired in public. Although I was prepared for it, I didn't know that it was going to be as brutal as it was - I was on the stand for about an hour, but I got through it.
After the sentencing, we gathered all of our friends and families together and we celebrated because we knew he was not going to be able to hurt anybody else again.
Philippe never took responsibility. He said that it was me that gave everybody HIV, which was obviously ludicrous - we found a woman in Michigan who he had transmitted HIV to in 1997. And we also did a DNA study that was very well controlled and scientifically proven that showed that the virus that was in each of us had a common source - and Philippe was the common source.
I suspect that he had knowingly been transmitting HIV to women for years before I met him, and that the 2005 diagnosis was not his first.
I have struggled with the forgiveness thing, but I'm at peace about it because, frankly, I took a lemon situation and made it into lemonade. 
But one of the things that I resent most about what Philippe did to me and the other women is that he destroyed my ability to trust and that makes relationships really hard. I'm working my way past it, but it's been a long struggle.
I'm really lucky that I have a good relationship now with somebody who understands and loves me and accepts me. We first started seeing each other in 2008 and I disclosed to him on the second date. I started crying and he held me and said, "It's OK, my brother died of Aids," and that was a very healing experience for me.
The medicine has come so far that it's one pill a day now for most people - I've been on one pill a day for a long time. I have undetectable viral load which means the virus is not detectable in my blood. It's been shown that if you are a living with HIV and you have an undetectable viral load consistently over six months there is zero transmission risk - that was a game changer for all of us.
I'm still in contact with a lot of the other women. I went to the Grand Canyon on vacation with one of them last year - the woman from the jazz bar. 
If I had not met her she would have never thought to get tested and if she had not given my name to the health department I would have never gotten tested. We seriously saved each other's lives.
Written by Sarah McDermott
Philippe Padieu was convicted of six counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon - his bodily fluid - and sentenced to 45 years in prison.
Standing Strong: An Unlikely Sisterhood and the Court Case that Made History by Diane Reeve is published by Health Communications.

More from BBC Stories


Pauline Dakin as a child, and today

Pauline Dakin's childhood in Canada in the 1970s was full of secrets, disruption and unpleasant surprises. She wasn't allowed to talk about her family life with anyone - and it wasn't until she was 23 that she was told why. 

December 22, 2016

Missouri C.A. Vacates 30 yr Sentence for HIV’er Caught Up on Disclosure Laws




Michael Johnson - Photo: St. Charles County Police Department.
Michael Johnson – Photo: St. Charles County Police Department.
The Missouri Court of Appeals has thrown out a 30-year prison sentence and ordered a new trial for a former college wrestler accused of failing to inform some of his sexual partners of his HIV status. Michael Johnson, an HIV-positive black man with learning disabilities, was convicted last year of violating an out-of-date Missouri law that criminalizes the sexual conduct of people living with HIV.
The court of appeals’ decision is based on the state’s failure to turn over last-minute conversations recorded at the county jail that were subsequently used to obtain Johnson’s conviction. By failing to notify the defense of the evidence in their possession, the court found, the prosecution had essentially railroaded Johnson in a way that could have significantly altered the case, reports The Associated Press.
Presiding Judge James Dowd, in his ruling overturning the conviction, chastised the prosecution, accusing them of adopting a “trial-by-ambush strategy.” Johnson will now face a new trial, in which he’s been charged with one count of recklessly infecting another with HIV, and four counts alleging he exposed or tried to expose others to the virus between January 2013 and October 2013.

Prosecutors maintained throughout his first trial that Johnson had deliberately lied to sexual partners about his HIV status. During the trial, St. Charles Police Detective Don Stepp testified that more than a dozen other men had approached the department claiming to have had sex with Johnson after learning of his arrest under Missouri’s HIV criminalization statute. But Stepp also said those men didn’t want to file formal complaints, because they were not out to their families.
BuzzFeed‘s Steven Thrasher reported in 2014 that prosecutors have a form from the state of Missouri, dating back to January 2013, signed by Johnson, acknowledging that he had been diagnosed with HIV. However, Thrasher also noted in his article that Johnson was never given legal counsel when he signed the form, many months prior to his arrest, and may not have understood the legal implications of the document he was signing.
 Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, and other LGBT and HIV/AIDS advocates have taken issue not just with Missouri’s law, but similar laws, which were written at a time when HIV diagnosis was considered a death sentence. At that time, little was known about how the virus was transmitted or what safeguards can be used to protect against infection, such as the positive partner maintaining an undetectable status, the use of PrEP for the negative sexual partner, or the use of condoms by both partners.
“Living with HIV is not a crime,” Schoettes said in a statement. “Except in the most extreme cases, the criminal law is far too blunt an instrument to address the subtle dynamics of HIV disclosure. Willingness to be open about HIV status will be created only by the destigmatization of HIV and policies that ensure people living with HIV are not singled out for discrimination or special prohibitions and punishments. Prosecutions like this — under antiquated laws like Missouri’s — take us in the opposite direction.
“Given the outdated nature and extremely punitive nature of Missouri’s law, Lambda Legal is hopeful the State will not appeal this decision, and will instead work to resolve the case without the need for another trial,” Schoettes added.
John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

December 31, 2015

The Criminalization of people with HIV is BIGGER than Known



                                                                           
CHART1
HIV criminalization rates both in California and nationally may be much higher than currently estimated, according to data that UCLA’s Williams Institute obtained from the California Department of Justice.
BY AMIRA HASENBUSH & AYAKO MIYASHITA  |  In the current political climate, it’s almost impossible not to think about the criminal justice system – whether it protects and serves, how it helps or harms our communities, and whether justice is being delivered equitably and fairly. These conversations lead to examination of every step of the system – stop and frisk, arrests to convictions, sentencing and re-entry. But what do you do when laws have the specific and stated purpose to target a specific population? In California, there are four such laws that apply to people living with HIV (PLWH). These laws criminalize otherwise legal conduct or increase penalties for criminal offenses based on a person’s HIV-positive status. There has been a growing consensus that laws that single out HIV and treat HIV differently from other communicable diseases add to the already heavy burden of stigma that HIV carries. 
HIV criminalization rates both in California and nationally may be much higher than currently estimated, according to data that the Williams Institute obtained from the California Department of Justice. California is generally known as a state that rarely utilizes its HIV criminal laws, and previous estimates identified only a handful of individuals coming into contact with the criminal justice system on the basis of their HIV-positive status. It came as a big surprise when we found that 800 people had been involved in 1,263 HIV-related criminal incidents from the time these laws were passed in 1988 through June 2014.
Across the state, Los Angeles was the largest enforcer of HIV-related criminal laws: 48 percent of HIV-specific criminal incidents occurred in Los Angeles County, while only 37 percent of PLWH in California have lived in the county. Throughout California, 95 percent of those HIV-related criminal incidents were under a state law that makes it a felony to solicit for sex work while HIV-positive – a statute that does not require intent to transmit HIV, actual transmission or even exposure to HIV in order to prosecute. Nearly every incident that led to HIV-specific criminal charges – 389 out of 390 incidents – ended in conviction, and 91 percent of those convicted were sent to prison or jail for an average of over two years.
The biggest revelation was the prosecution rates under these laws.  Across all HIV-related crimes, white men were significantly more likely to be released and not charged whereas black men, black women and white women were significantly less likely to be released and not charged. 
CHART2
These disparities were even starker among individuals assumed to be engaged in sex work under the solicitation while HIV-positive statute. White men were not charged in 70 percent of cases, while all others were not charged in 42 percent of cases.
When we talk about these figures, we are talking about people.  Criminalization in any form can change the course of a person’s life.  But the application of HIV criminal laws is yet another additional burden placed upon individuals living with HIV.  To the degree that these data suggest an unequal application of justice, we must ask ourselves – are these laws fair or are they merely steeped in fear?  Do they protect and serve, help or harm our communities?  Is justice being delivered here?   Our research does not provide us with all the answers to these questions.  But we can say that just like the rest of the criminal justice system, under HIV criminalization laws, certain communities bear more weight of the penal code than others. 
—  Amira Hasenbush is the Jim Kepner Law and Policy Fellow and Ayako Miyashita is the Brian Belt HIV Law & Policy Fellow at the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.
How Criminal Laws Target People Living with HIV added by Mehmet Ozenki 

Featured Posts

Premier Footballer Emiliano Sala 28 Plane's Has Gone Down Over Chanel Islands

Emiliano Sala search BBC Premier League footballer Emiliano Sala was on a light aircraft which went missing over the...