Paper short abstract:
To date, German courts punish HIV-positive persons for transmission of the virus. Activists criticise that criminalisation undermines HIV prevention. However, racial or ableist dimensions of the judgements remain largely unacknowledged. What does it tell us about political bonds and aspirations?
Paper long abstract:
According to German law, the intentional or negligent transmission of HIV is punishable if the HIV-negative person did not know about their partner's infection. German AIDS activists fight since three decades against the juridical discrimination of HIV-positive people. With it, they scandalise, how the judgements contradict prevention work based on the mutual responsibility of sex partners and anxiety-free sexual communication.
As important as this political fight is, what strikes us is the far-reaching lack of memorialization of the earlier cases of juridical discrimination. With it, the accumulation of sentences against persons of colour, disabled persons, or sex workers does not gain political attention. Many AIDS activists seem to neglect the racial, ableist, or sexist discrimination entangled in the judgements.
In our presentation, we want to look back at the early court cases and analyse how, in the 1980s, activists from different backgrounds got involved with the cases and developed diverging political strategies. We want to scrutinize the potential influence of different (political) socialisation and the material as well as emotional conditions of relationships between activists and the affected HIV-positive persons. Who engages with whom and with what kind of intensity? What aspects are turned into a political problem? What accounts for the differences in relating to the court cases? The ways of political mobilization entail a prioritisation of political problems and a diagnosis of what counts as "our" time and futurity.
The ongoing brink of transformation - persistent activist aspirations of the same unachieved future
Session 1 Monday 15 April, 2019, -