Prostitution with knowledge of HIV/AIDS law is unjust, out of date, attorney says

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Earlier this month, when we posted about Joshua Harker's arrest for prostitution with knowledge of HIV/AIDS, we referenced two previous high-profile cases involving Darren Garcia and William Head, both of whom were accused of the same offense.

Afterward, we were contacted by Julia Stancil, the attorney who represented Garcia and Head. She reveals that the prostitution with knowledge of HIV/AIDS allegations were eventually dropped against both of them -- a likely result of evidence she provided showing that neither had endangered anyone with their actions. Stancil has challenged the constitutionality of the law, and while she was unsuccessful, she argues passionately that the statute is unjust and anachronistic.

"I understand the goal of our legislature to prevent the spread of HIV and am supportive of that," says Stancil, who was a public defender when she represented Garcia and Head; she's now in private practice for Feldmann Nagel, LLC. "However, I think the laws as they stand tend to single out those with HIV and are based on outdated medical science and misinformation."

This point is seconded by Head, corresponding with Westword via e-mail. In his view, "there is no reason in this day and age that the current laws, written in the late 80s and 90s around criminal HIV, should still be on the books."

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Julia Stancil.
Colorado's prostitution-with-knowledge-of-HIV/AIDS statute was approved in 1999, during what Stancil describes as a period of "fear and hysteria around HIV and AIDS that was completely understandable at the time. It was seen as a death sentence. But now someone who contracts HIV as a young person has roughly the same lifespan as anyone else" owing to extraordinary treatment advances in the decade-plus since then.

To underscore this contention, Stancil points to a recent study with the not-quite-catchy title "Quantifying sexual exposure to HIV within an HIV-serodiscordant relationship: development of an algorithm." Among other things, the authors of the document, included below, quantify transmission risks for those who are HIV-positive but take daily Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) medications -- substances that are capable of reducing the amount of virus in the bloodstream to the degree that it's characterized as undetectable.

According to the study, an HIV-positive individual with a so-called viral load of zero has a 0.0 chance of passing along the virus when performing oral sex, as Garcia and Head were accused of agreeing to do, and a 0.0004 risk of doing so when receiving oral sex.

These conclusions have been borne out in Colorado, Stancil says. She's worked on around five of approximately 20-25 cases statewide, and she emphasizes that none of those with whom she has personal knowledge "ever put any other person at risk of contracting the virus. There's zero evidence of that. And there's certainly no evidence that anybody has contracted the virus because of these people."

When Stancil took on the assignment of defending Garcia, who had been convicted twice of prostitution with knowledge of HIV/AIDS prior to her arrest in January 2012, she assumed that statistics like these would have inspired an attorney to challenge Colorado's statute. Upon discovering this hadn't happened, she decided to do so herself due to what she sees as the law's inequities.

"The law penalizes people for knowing they are HIV positive -- not for spreading it or attempting to spread the disease," she notes. "Particularly in the case if sex workers, good public policy should encourage people to find out their status, be educated on safe sex practices, and get on medication -- not penalize them for doing so.

"There are far more dangerous STDs out there that are easily spread but not singled out in outlet criminal code, yet this law only applies to people who are HIV-positive," she stresses. "Someone can be a prostitute and give out herpes or HPV to everyone, and if they're accused of prostitution, they're charged with a misdemeanor. They could get between zero and six months in county jail, and it's generally just a couple of days. But if they're HIV-positive, even if they have a zero viral load and couldn't pass along the virus, they're treated as felons, which could mean a sentence of eighteen months in prison and effects their ability to find work and housing for the rest of their lives."

Continue for more about the prostitution with knowledge of HIV/AIDS law, including more photos and two documents.


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40 comments
HerpesDatingSite
HerpesDatingSite

 Herpesdatingsite.weebly.com - the site have been helping to people with STD to find Love & Support- Free

Suzanne Houston Nash
Suzanne Houston Nash

Shouldn`t be legal, no, but should the penalty be the same as if it ACTUALLY HIT someone? Attempted murder is a serious crime but not the same as actually murdering someone.

Joseph Giordano
Joseph Giordano

I guess there is a difference between knowingly spreading a deadly virus and knowingly spreading a virus that would be deadly if you didn't take daily medicine for the rest of our lives. Wait, no there isn't.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Except that those so economically, socially and psychologically depressed that they engage in prostitution don't always maintain a medical regime of anti-retroviral treatment, if they start one at all.


Junkies and low-level street prostitutes don't care about themselves, much less other people, whom they view as marks to be taken for $$.



Elizabeth Alan
Elizabeth Alan

BS - if whores (both buyers/sellers) have that little respect for themselves, what makes one think they will respect humanity over money or lust. It's all about their high - and disease of all kinds are now running rampant.

Dave Caldwell
Dave Caldwell

While HIV and AIDS is not the immediate death sentence it once was, the fact is that HIV/AIDS still kills people.

YoMama
YoMama

If Ms. Stancil feels that way, she should have unprotected sex with her clients.  After all, those laws are "outdated" and were "written out of fear and hysteria..."

As He Bowen
As He Bowen

Well I guess that gives the victim the right to take the matter into their own hands???? Wtf?!

Matthew Munn
Matthew Munn

By this logic, firing a gun at someone without hitting them should be legal too.

Scott McMahon
Scott McMahon

Let someone do that to here...see if it changes her tune. And the messed up part is she's defending a repeat offender; a person that obviously doesn't care if they give someone a deadly disease. How is that any different than driving drunk down a one way street, or shooting a gun off in a crowd? You might kill someone...you "might' not. She's debating semantics in law, not the the crime. Maybe she should pick another statute to be high and mighty about.

Breeanna Back
Breeanna Back

Dude f that, I would want to kill the person myself if someone did that to me

Betty Miller
Betty Miller

No, it's still wrong to knowingly have sex and not tell someone you are HIV positive. There is no cure for AIDS , just ways to suppress the virus.

fishingblues
fishingblues topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay


"Junkies and low-level street prostitutes don't care about themselves, much less other people, whom they view as marks to be taken for $$."


Does that include you and the stable of young boys you pimp out?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... and is no fun to suffer.



muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

Yeah, we hope you change. 

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

If you're Dickless Cheney, it already is.  Oops, he DID hit someone, while DRUNK.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

Sometimes truth is just that simple.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @muhutdafuga How can you be that mad at someone for shooting a right wing texass lawyer in the face?  Besides, the law doesn't really apply to conservatives.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@fishingblues @muhutdafuga Yes, while truth tends to be simple, rePEDOPHILIcAn lies have to flip flop all the time.  New lies are told to support the old lies, fishingrainbow.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@fishingblues @muhutdafuga Good Americans, don't read this, it is just a simplified version of an earlier post that fishingrainbow doesn't understand.

You describe many conservative behaviors, for example pedophilia.  Also, it has been shown that the majority of good Americans find being called conservative insulting, even more so when conservative attributes are listed.  Thus, when you describe a bunch of manipulative pedophiles, you are describing your own party.  That was the comic irony of my post.  You wouldn't understand, because FACTS ARE LIBERAL.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

@fishingblues @muhutdafuga @DonkeyHotay It's just a typical conservative with one of his "friends from back in Gooberville."

Because radical right wingers have found you don't need birth control with animals..

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