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Legal Defense Strategy: Question HIV Test Accuracy

Legal Defense HIVLegal team of Atlanta pastor accused of transmitting HIV, taps the method of questioning the accuracy of HIV testing to raise reasonable doubt.

 

I doubt it won’t be effective and I believe he’ll win. Here’s why…

Although I strongly disagree with the assertions and basis of this argument at it’s core, as I don’t believe the “AIDS denalist” rhetoric, the argument presented is interesting to me as I continue to advocate for changes to unfair and terrifying HIV criminalization laws currently on the books across our country.

This particular case, for me, has little to do with the facts or my opinion in general about HIV laws. Rather, what I find interesting is the use of the dissent opinion common with the HIV landscape to defend an alleged man living with HIV. Again, without giving a platform for such discussion about whether HIV is real– as this isn’t the venue for that– I am simply highlighting an interesting defense to what I view as a legal circus that attempts to make those of living with HIV out to be no more than viral creatures waiting patiently to infect others. All of this via the medium of consensual unprotected sex– but placing blame on only one party because they allegedly have a medical condition.

Here is the full press alert issued:

Jan. 13: HIV Trial of Atlanta Man to Include OMSJ Defense Expert From Amgen Who Designed Original
HIV Tests

The Amgen senior chemist who co-designed HIV testing technologies and is now an expert with the Office of Medical and Scientific Justice (OMSJ) is scheduled to testify for the defense in the January 13 trial of Craig Lamar Davis.

Arrested in Clayton County in July 2012, prosecutors charged Davis with aggravated assault for not disclosing his alleged HIV-positive status to a sexual partner, a felony in Georgia. If convicted, Davis faces a prison sentence of one to 10 years.

With support from OMSJ, a non-profit investigative agency comprised of legal and scientific experts, Davis’
defense centers on medical records that do not establish whether Davis is – or ever was – infected with HIV.
Rodney Richards, Ph.D., an associate of OMSJ, worked at the biotech giant for 13 years.

During the early days of the AIDS scare, he supervised the development of the first HIV diagnostic tests. Originally intended only to rule out HIV in blood donor banks, HIV tests proliferated into mainstream medical practice and became the standard used to diagnose actual HIV infection. “The problem,” says Richards, “none of the 39 HIV-related diagnostic tests or devices currently approved by the FDA claim to confirm the actual presence of HIV in any sample with any degree of accuracy.”

No HIV test on the market today is able to identify the actual virus.
Accused in 2012 of engaging in unprotected sex with three different partners in the Atlanta area, Davis, 42, was arrested after two women allegedly tested positive for HIV and filed police reports. One woman claimed Davis was “a married pastor” but, through his attorney, John Turner, Davis denies he was ever a pastor and disputes his HIV positive status. He was separated from his wife during this time, Turner says.

Former Amgen chemist Richards and Nancy Banks, M.D., a board certified gynecologist and sexually
transmitted disease specialist, will challenge the accuracy of the HIV tests administered to Davis during 2009 to
2012. Medical reports produced by the prosecution allege that Davis tested positive on several different tests.

However, the defense says none of the reports contain the actual tests results, nor evidence of how the tests
were conducted, or the identity and qualifications of the physicians and laboratory technicians who allegedly
performed them.

Founded by investigator and retired LAPD officer Clark Baker, OMSJ provides medical, scientific, legal and
investigative support to the victims of unapproved and unreliable medical and scientific practices. Of the more
than 50 cases completed since 2009, all but three have resulted in favorable plea agreements, acquittal, or the
withdrawal of all HIV-related charges.
“To date,” says defense expert Banks, “there is no practical test for screening that indicates, with any medical
or scientific accuracy, whether a person has the HIV virus and is infectious. All HIV tests are an assumption, made by clinicians, but not direct proof. A direct, reliable method would be to culture the virus from blood or other body tissue. However, this has never been accomplished.”

For more about the work of the Office of Medical & Scientific Justice Inc. at http://www.omsj.org.

SOURCE: Office of Medical and Scientific Justice – OMSJ

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What are your thoughts on using this defense? Good idea or not? Again, I’m not debating whether HIV is real, or not. Rather, do you think this legal defense strategy is smart?

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