Anderson Cooper Slams Trump, Comparing Him Those with HIV Who Can Be Arrested

Monday October 12, 2020

After the vice presidential debate Wednesday, Anderson Cooper slammed President Donald Trump for his "reckless behavior since his diagnosis with Covid-19," reports The Independent, and he compares the president to those with HIV who can be arrested if they don't inform their partners of their status.

"There are gay people in this country who are HIV-positive, and in some states, they can be arrested if they do not inform a sexual partner that they are HIV positive, even though if they are on medication it is absolutely zero threat to a sexual partner. None. They cannot transmit the virus," said Cooper in a heated exchange on CNN with former Republican Senator Rick Santorum in an argument over Trump's character.

"In America, in several states, they can be sent to jail because of that. Donald Trump is out there, possibly infecting people ... he could've infected Joe Biden on the stage ... and he's not held responsible," he said.

In 21 states, laws require people with HIV who are aware of their status to disclose their status to sex partners, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Penalties can run from less than 10 years in some states to life imprisonment. Only nine states have laws that account for HIV prevention measures that reduce transmission risks, such as condom use, and antiretroviral therapy.

Bruce Richman, founding executive director, Undetectable = Untransmittable, Prevention Access Campaign, told The Independent that HIV criminalisation laws are outdated, not based on science, and have not been shown to prevent HIV transmission.

"When people with HIV are on effective treatment it's impossible for them to pass on HIV to their sexual partners. The risk is zero. There's no potential for harm," Mr Richman explains.

"However, in this case, the president knowingly and recklessly ignored public health guidance and put those around him at serious risk of contracting Covid-19. And given the power imbalance, many may have felt coerced not to wear masks to protect themselves from harm," he adds. "As it stands, the criminal justice system is not effective at solving public health issues, but the president must be held accountable for his actions."

Follow this link to watch the exchange between Cooper and Santorum.