Knowingly Spreading HIV is a Crime in Texas

by Ryan on May 31, 2009

in Anything Else,Bioethics,Culture,science

Nearly three years ago I asked this question:  Should knowingly spreading HIV/AIDS be a crime?  I have always felt that should be the case, with the emphasis on “knowingly,” since in 2009 contracting HIV is still a death sentence.

Well, in Texas an HIV-positive man Philippe Padieu was arrested two years ago for doing just that — knowing he was HIV-positive, he nonetheless still had unprotected sex with at least six women.  He was charged with “aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for having unprotected sex with the women without telling them he was HIV positive,”  the virus rightly being legally considered a deadly weapon in this case.  Padieu was convicted.

In the punishment phase of the trial, the jury gave Padieu a 45-year concurrent sentence based on five of the counts, and another 25-year sentence on the sixth count, after all of which he will not be eligible for parole for over 22 years.  At 53 years old now, Padieu will be 75 on the day he’s eligible to get out of prison.

It’s not the life-in-prison or death sentence I’d prefer – this is ostensibly serial killer-like behavior; it’s just that the deaths are postponed based on the  infected women’s immune systems and access to life-prolonging drugs, but it’s a delayed multiple murder with the same M.O. nonetheless.  However, it’s still a step in the right direction for prosecuting behavior that will result in the slow death of those who are consciously infected with this deadly virus.

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