Organized by: Matilda Bickers
Angelina Mendoza was arrested this spring in what was essentially a fishing expedition by police. She was arrested on charges different from what she is currently being charged with, because the police have no evidence of anything other than her medical status, and it is her medical status that creates the charge: "HIV/AIDS-Failure to disclose."
Because in Michigan, your medical history and status can become a crime, regardless of whether the sex you had was safe, regardless of your viral load [the odds of transmitting HIV through intercourse from a person with a vagina to a person with a penis are under 1 in 1,000; they get even lower if condoms are used]; regardless of what sex acts were engaged in [the odds of transmission get even lower with oral sex].
HIV is now a controllable infection; it is not a death sentence. With medical innovations like Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis it is possible to have sex with a positive person without getting HIV. Positive and pregnant people who take their medication have a 2% risk of transmitting the virus to their child. There is no reasonable or ethical basis for laws which criminalize people with HIV and there is no ethical or non-invasive way to enforce these laws equally. They will only ever be used against people who have already been arrested, as one more charge to use against them.
Angelina Mendoza is a woman who lived in a small. economically depressed town, in the bible belt of Michigan. A small town with a small handful of law/government officials who illegally publicized Angelina's HIV status and who are ignorant in the knowledge of HIV laws and the protection of ones rights. Angelina did not actually put her partner at risk through non-disclosure [and we know that men do not even get tested, let alone disclose their status to paid or unpaid sex partners; we also know that no one will be following up with these men, arresting them if they don't disclose their status to any potential future partners] Please support her now, and help her fight these charges. This is a bigoted, biased law that will only ever be used against people trying to survive. It does not treat HIV, it does not end HIV, it just puts positive people, who may currently be healthy, into a prison system with an environment with inadequate health care.
If you can't afford to donate, please share and write an email to an editor alerting them to Michigan's archaic and damaging laws: Petoskey News [local Gaylord paper]: firstname.lastname@example.org Contact any of the MLive editors here: http://blog.mlive.com/mlive_contacts/newsrooms.... The Detroit Free Press email@example.com; Bring this bigoted law and miscarriage of justice to the attention of national newspapers! Colorado has already seen a case like this and changed its laws: firstname.lastname@example.org The New York Times: email@example.com The Stranger: firstname.lastname@example.org Hit up your local lgbt paper! These laws need to end!