On October 18, 2009, neighbors Daniel Allen and Winfred Fernandis, Jr., were having a vicious fight. Fernandis and his family had been attacking Allen with racial and homophobic slurs for two years, and Allen finally had enough. By the end, both men suffered bite injuries.
But only one was charged with "terrorism."
As soon as the prosecution found out Allen had HIV, he was hit with a "bioterrorism" charge for using a "harmful device.” The harmful device in question? His body.
HIV experts say it's nearly impossible to spread HIV by biting someone. That myth perpetuates the “boogey-man” stigma associated with people with HIV.
Allen's bioterrorism charge was eventually dropped. But Black people are still affected the most by HIV criminalization.
What can we expect to happen when the media continues to demonize Black LGBTQ+ people for their medical conditions, from COVID to monkeypox?
When Black people who are HIV-positive get targeted for "crimes" with no scientific backing, the criminal legal system is making a clear statement. It’s designed to criminalize us, NOT protect our safety and health.