VICTORY! CDC (quietly) releases “per-act probability of acquiring HIV, by exposure act.”

| July 25, 2012

“It was a rolling ball of other people’s agendas”: Marama Pala, Executive Director, INA – Maori, Indigenous & South Pacific HIV/AIDS Foundation, New Zealand, (@Maramaboo) testifies at press conference about being used as a “victim” to prosecute someone for HIV transmission

For years ,the HIV community has been asking CDC to put up clear data showing that different acts have very different risks of HIV transmission.

And at last, CDC has quietly slipped a extensively-footnoted chart onto their “HIV and the Law’ section of their website that does just that.

Estimated Per-Act Probability of Acquiring HIV from an Infected Source, by Exposure Acta

Type of Exposure Risk per 10,000
Blood Transfusion 9,000b
Needle-sharing during injection drug use 67c
Percutaneous (needle-stick) 30d
Receptive anal intercourse 50e, f
Receptive penile-vaginal intercourse 10e, f, g
Insertive anal intercourse 6.5e, f
Insertive penile-vaginal intercourse 5e, f
Receptive oral intercourse lowe, i
Insertive oral intercourse lowe, i
Biting negligiblej
Spitting negligible
Throwing body fluids (including semen or saliva) negligible
Sharing sex toys negligible

This data is vital not only for personal use and community/public health education, but for combatting HIV criminalization, under which people with HIV are prosecuted, jailed and/or registered as sex offenders for a range of actions or alleged actions with little or no risk of HIV transmission.

Globally, the United States is – by far – the top location for aggressive and widespread criminalization. In addition, according to Edwin J Bernard of the international HIV Justice Network, “11 US states [largely in the Midwest but also the South] are particularly passionate in their arrest and prosecution of people living with HIV – usually these are just disclosure laws with nothing to do with the science of risk… A quarter of prosecutions are for things that don’t even risk exposure, like spiting or biting.”


Category: Criminalization, Human Rights & Social Justice

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