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US man imprisoned for not disclosing HIV status is guest speaker at Beyond Blame

US man imprisoned for not disclosing HIV status is guest speaker at Beyond Blame

LAST UPDATED // Tuesday, 29 July 2014 11:20 Written by // James Findlay

Nick Rhoades, a man from Iowa, US, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for not disclosing his HIV status, will join criminal experts from around the world at Beyond Blame, one of the pre-conferences to AIDS 2014.

The free event will discuss working to end the overly broad criminalisation of HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission, and will include a selection of speakers from around the world.

Iowa Senator Matt McCoy joins Nick Rhoades and will discuss law reform and how it relates to HIV criminalisation in his home state.

Rhoades was imprisoned for nine months and sentenced for 25 years for not disclosing his HIV-positive status to a casual sex partner, although he had an undetectable viral load and also wore a condom. His status was reduced after concerted lobbying.

Nick Rhoades discussing his sentencing

As the law stands, he will be registered as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

"When you're a sex offender there's so much stigma and people jump to conclusions," Rhoades said.

“My life is forever changed. Do a Google search for my name and some pretty horrific stuff comes up. I have had to change a private medical condition and a private life to public domain.

"That's not to say I can't be happy, find employment, have a satisfying life, but it's never going to just go away."

Former Justice Michael Kirby will give the keynote address at the pre-conference.

[Image] Nick Rhoades

The Beyond Blame workshop is on July 20 9:30 - 4:00, Urban Workshop Melbourne. For more information click here


James Findlay

James Findlay

James Findlay is a Melbourne-based journalist and broadcaster who has worked in community media for many years. He has won awards for his work on The Naughty Rude Show on SYN, and can be heard on JOY 94.9's breakfast program, Triple Threat, and Hide and Seek - exploring sex, sexuality and self. He is currently completing his Master of Public Health specialising in Sexual Health at Melbourne University, and a tutor in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University.

Comments (1)

  • Jeff

    16 July 2014 at 13:15 |
    Great article. Just one clarification. Matt McCoy is a senator in the Iowa legislator. He is not, as you have stated, a US Senator. He was very instrumental in getting the Iowa law changed, but it has no impact on US federal law.


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