March 29, 2012

My second entry at, the digital version of Poz magazin. You can read my entry here:

på norsk her:

or here:

Finally prosecuted by the State Attorney.

9th of March 2012, the prosecuting authorities' in Norway announced that they will prosecute me. (The indictment and comments from me and my attorney can be read at: 

I chose to go public before any final decision was made from the State attorney office, with the chance of provoking them to prosecute me because they don’t want to risk being criticized by media of giving in to pressure. (edited 30.3.12 and my subjective opinion).

This is fine with me. Like I’ve stated before I want to have my case tried before a court.

Anyway! Now we all have to wait until the trial before we get any further answers about my case. In the meantime the discussion whether we should have a law like this (and using it like in my case) is protecting the society from more infections or just making it worse, continues.

Personally I had the pleasure of being enlightened by a certain professor from The University of London over dinner the other day. He asked me if I had ever thought of the following dilemmas:

Do the defenders of the law like it is today also believe that we should prosecute and convict parents that voluntarily decide not to vaccinate their children against; let’s say Polio (this is voluntarily in Norway)? Those parents are in fact taking away their children’s option to protect them selves against an infection with life term consequences. Just like the arguments used to defend why people with HIV should be prosecuted and convicted because they either fails to disclose their status (which they argue involuntarily put people at risk of an infection) or actually put others at risk of HIV, which also are an infection with life term consequences provided you have access to medical treatment?

Do the same defenders believe that all countries should have the same laws to protect themselves against HIV and by that (if they believe all people are equal in God’s eyes?) wilfully risk putting millions of Africans in jail? This would eventually be the outcome in Africa, where big parts of the population are infected with HIV.

Do they believe everyone should equally answer to the same law? In Norway it’s become publicly known that medicated HIV-positive parents under guidance of their doctors can conceive children the “natural” way (which I’m very much in favour of). This is of course a violation of the penal code 155, but none of these has ever been prosecuted.

If the answer to the last question is yes, it’ll probably mean that I have to press charges against the complainant in my own case. Because of the conclusions in the police investigation the complainant has probably put me at risk of re-infection (which is criminal by the law) and probably given a false statement to the police. What a great system!

God bless the freedom of speech and have a nice week.

Louis Gay

Indictment decision by the State Attorney in Oslo.
(My translation)

På norsk her:

Now I'm finally prosecuted

"... for violation of:

Penal Code § 155 first penalty option
for intentional to have exposed another to a risk of being infected even though he had reasonable grounds to believe that he was infected with a serious communicable disease

On one occasion during the period to xx.xx.xxxx he made receptive (receiving) oral sex with xxxxxxxxx without protection, even though he knew he was HIV-positive.

Claim for compensation to the complainant reserved abandoned."

The indictment is largely consistent with the conclusion of the police investigation. So I'm accused of having exposed another of infection, without actually infecting him, because it appeared that he was infected by someone else.

Yet there is a surprising element. The prosecutors find that one case of oral sex (without any contact with semen according to the victim's and my own police report), which is regarded by the definition of "safer sex" after a series of health authorities written instructions, shall be considered as intentional. So, that I willfully through this action has exposed the victim of infection. So, even though I’ve both followed the prevailing advice of safer sex and that the risk of infection in this case occurred at the risk of infection from blood, after an accident that would have caused exactly the same risk if it had been used a condom.

It’s difficult to understand the prosecutors in any other way than that for HIV-positive people it’s a criminal offense to practice "safer sex". I.e. to use a condom during anal and vaginal intercourse and oral sex without a condom if there is no contact with semen or precum, if you want to avoid criminal liability.

Louis Gay

March 17, 2012

Louis Gay is the first one in Norway to be open as HIV-positive 
and charged with violation of paragraph 155 
(the “HIV paragraph” in Norway).
Photo: Tina Åmodt
Gay is participating in a number of forums to give HIV a face. 
Here he is with Ole Magnus Kinapel on the opening of 
the exhibition “Shameless”, where Kinapel 
interviewed HIV-positive in a video project.
Photo: Tina Åmodt
An interview I did with (Norwegian web-place for gay people) March 15, 2012.

or read it here in English:

HIV activist Louis Gay wants to fight the penal code section 155. He refuses to be criminalized and stigmatized.
By Tina Åmodt (translated by Louis Gay)
No, the French name is not a pseudonym. Louis Gay is open as HIV-postive, and the only one in Norway that has been open about a criminal charge related to the diagnosis.

Since last November, he has fought bitterly against what he describes as a stigmatizing and unreasonable legislation, through feature articles, speeches, interviews and his English-language blog (

- The HIV legislation in Norway is among the strictest in the world, and the UNAIDS have criticized it for years. It is unreasonable that our own government maintains one of the main reasons to uphold the stigma through practicing a strict legal framework. HIV-positive people are forced into hiding, and many dare not to test for the virus, according to Gay:

- To get people to take greater responsibility, we must create a society where it is safe to be HIV positive.

Were threatened and charged

While the Syse-committee evaluates the legislation, the penal code section 155 still stands. It states clearly that it is illegal for persons with HIV to expose others to contagion or infection. But where is the limit? Gay believes the regulations are unclear and that the gap between legal text and educational interpretation of the law is large and confusing.

- It is not required by law in Norway to tell that one is HIV-positive. But if you look at some of the cases that have gone to court, you will find in the sentencing that non-disclosure has had a negative impact. People have also been condemned for not having used a condom during oral sex, but this does not match the text of the law, he said.

- Even if you have proved that you have not infected anyone, you can still be put in jail. In reality this means that HIV-positive people are not legally entitled to a sexual life.

Gay has firsthand experience with this section. In Aftenposten (newspaper in Norway) he told about how he was threatened with being reported to the police last year, by two ex-partners. According to him: unjust and only motivated by revenge.

- One of the two threats resulted in a criminal charge. It has been investigated the usual way and was finished in January. The conclusion was that I did not infect the complainant. Now I wait on the public prosecutor's conclusion, whether it is going to court or not I do not know yet, says Gay.

- To get people to take greater responsibility, to test more often, we must create a society where it is safe to be HIV-positive, says Gay.

Being a public face

Louis Gay got his HIV diagnosis in 2010 after a routine check.

- It led to a brief period of mourning, but to get the message at the age of 38 was not too bad. Life goes on, I thought. Now that I have medication that works, it is not something that affects my daily life in a very great extent. It does not mean I believe that living with HIV is not without problems, he said.

He has been open to the surroundings, and believes that everyone has handled it pretty well. Most sexual partners have also taken the information surprisingly well, and without reacting with fear, he says.

- I try to put a face to HIV and make it easier to be positive, helping to reduce stigma and prejudice. Many people find it awfully hard to tell their sexual partners about the diagnosis. My impression is that people with HIV are not irresponsible people.

Do you have the impression that many infected people are feeling alone?

- After I was TV-broadcasted on the evening news in February the phone went crazy. People called from all over the country. HIV-positive people who are desperate. Who feel lonely and do not know how to deal with their family and the society around them. It makes me very sad, said Gay.

Everyone must take responsibility

He believes that it is now up to politicians to improve the situation of people with HIV.

- The politicians must take responsibility to clean up and change the law. First of all, they need to stop prosecuting people for not actually infecting someone. Even better is if they make a law where the HIV-negative have to realize that they have a responsibility when they go to bed with someone. The way it is today, they have no responsibilities. As an HIV-positive you have to carry 100% of the responsibility.

Also, educational work and campaigns is important to deal with the persistent, high infection rates, according to Gay.

- It's like smoking. Everyone has knowledge of how dangerous smoking is; however, the community spends millions on anti-smoking campaigns. The government complains about increased infection numbers, however, it is breathtaking little money on campaigns. It is inconceivable to me.

Do you feel alone in this fight?

- No. I am not alone. There is a very small HIV-positive group who have worked with this topic much longer than me. But we are few, far too few. I understand why people with HIV choose to hide, on the other side: it is important for all minority groups that the players themselves are in the group, stands up and take responsibility.

Going to USA

Louis Gay is keen to stress that he understands that people are reluctant to inform the environment that they are chronically ill.

- But I have not actually seen a single negative comment since I stood up, not one. I have only received positive feedback from many who say they are happy for what I do. This motivates me to continue.

In July, he is invited to Washington DC to contribute at the international AIDS conference.

- Soon I apply for a visa, but it depends if I get the entry to the United States because I have a charge hanging over me. Well, I just have to try, he says with a smile.

March 7, 2012

First time published today as a new blogger at The digital version of Poz magazin. You can read my entry here:

på norsk her:

or here:

Why I’m public as a criminalized HIV-positive?

My own country, Norway, has been ranked by UNAIDS to be among the five worst UN countries to prosecute and put HIV-positive people behind bars.

When I first became diagnosed with HIV in 2010, it wasn’t the end of the world to me. I was 38 years old back then and for 20 of them I had to relate to HIV in one way or another? I was only 19 the first time I heard that a previous partner of mine had developed AIDS. I puked of anxiety that day.

Later there has been a lot of stories like that. I’ve been lucky I guess? But of course it has forced me to relate to the obvious truth; this might very well happen to me some day. And so it did. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not happy I got HIV, I’m just happy that when I did it was in 2010 because of all the knowledge we have today.

What I didn’t know was how people with HIV could be prosecuted and convicted despite all that knowledge and new medication. Despite that adults agree to a sexual relationship with an HIV-positive. Despite that there’s no transmission of the virus.

In my case I was terrified the first time I experienced someone actually threatening me with the police if I didn’t do as I was told. The second time something like that happened I put up a fight and was reported to the police of breaking the penal code 155 which goes like this:

“He who with reasonable grounds to believe he is infected with a serious communicable disease, willfully or negligently infects or expose another to a risk of being infected, shall be punished with imprisonment up to 6 years in cases of willful violation and imprisonment for up to 3 years at negligent violation.” (My translation)

I had no idea what I had coming. Friends turning their backs at me and my family were divided. And most important of all! I had a complete psychological breakdown that required help from professionals to conquer. (I haven’t really ever recovered completely).

But after months of therapy and support from a small group of loyal friends, I was finally ready to make the biggest choice of my life. To fight back at what I could only see as a complete unreasonable system, made to protect the society from more infections, based on a great misunderstanding: That prosecuting people with HIV actually will keep the numbers of new infections down? Or to live the rest of my life knowing that anybody at anytime can take away my dignity and human right to a sexual life. Get real!

I’m not really against the society’s right to prosecute and convict those very few individuals who willfully transmits HIV to a lot of others without getting any kind of consent. But it has to be proven without any reasonable doubt. Not like in many cases today where you are literally screwed in the justice system just because you have HIV.

I decided to go public with my story November 2011. A few months later I’ve been published in the biggest newspaper in Norway, been on the Norwegian Broadcasting corp. (both TV and radio) twice, given interviews to magazines, started my private blog ( and held public speeches several times, about this topic. So what’s happened so far? Not much. Thought I would get a lot of shit thrown at me, but that hasn’t happened? On the contrary, most people support me and say nice things to me? All which make me slowly believe that maybe (just maybe?) the general population are willing to listen to common sense after all?

If the politicians start to believe that they won’t loose their voters even if they try to decriminalizing HIV. Things might go our way after all? I’m sure it’s going to be a while yet before we get there, but I’m slightly optimistic, at least in Norway.

So these days, while I’m waiting for the State attorney office to decide whether they will prosecute me or not, I’m aiming even more for the general public and the politicians nationally and internationally. It’s too late to have any regrets for me. It’s either my way or the HIGHWAY.


Louis Gay

March 1, 2012

This chronicle I wrote was published February 28, 2012 by Aftenposten (one of the biggest newspapers in Norway).

HIV-positive, investigated and stated.
By Louis Gay (/loi:/ /gi:/)

Not everyone have the courage to tell they are HIV-positive at first, unfortunately (but with good reasons). What I’ve experienced implies that I wouldn’t have chosen to be open about it, again. After I was diagnosed with HIV, I experienced to be reported to the police by a former partner and threatened with the same thing by another. It has been a shock to go from an otherwise law-abiding life, to get a status as a suspect in a police investigation. Both times, the goal has been to hold me back in relationships I no longer wanted to be part of.

The Norwegian penal Code §155 *, is very controversial. Something the appointed "Syse-committee", who will study the issue of criminalization of the transmission of serious communicable diseases, tells us.

I’ve tried to inform my partners of me being contagious. Often I’m getting the same answers: "I’m an adult and can take responsibility for myself". "You don’t need to worry; I know what I’m doing". "It's not your responsibility anymore, as you’ve disclosed your status". Answer, which all of them should be enough to make me feel secure. So why am I not happy? The reason is that even though most people actually believe what they say, then and there, it’s sufficient that only one of them repents and press charges against me and my life becomes a hell of fear and shame, again. A vindictive or remorseful partner with the law on their side, through accusations can put my life "out of play".

So, what does that fear and shame consists of? Words can be withdrawn and changed. I have to prove to the society that I’ve acted correctly and not done anything wrong as an HIV-positive. My fear consists in not being able to convince others of this. How to prove something that was said and done between two adults, with no witnesses present? People I thought had confidence in me, who went skeptical and turned their back on me or pulled away, are examples of behaviors that support the feeling of shame. Worst of all is the feeling that there are no guarantees that it will not happen again. I believed that individual freedom and responsibility were virtues we cherished? My experience is that unfortunately it doesn’t apply equally to those of us with HIV.

We are subjects to a law which is of so-called general preventive nature, a law that are there to protect you healthy people from us sick. Regardless of what a healthy person wants to do sexually with an HIV-positive, we must still carry the full responsibility if something should go wrong. A potential risk of infection is in principle sufficient to prosecute us, even if the healthy one has gone into it with eyes open. Police have compared my HIV-virus to the one from the complainant. They are different. In other words I didn’t infect the complainant. Nevertheless, I can still be prosecuted and convicted.

After the charges against me, I’ve tried to live with an HIV-negative partner. Together we went to get supervision by a doctor and specialist, to be on the "safe side". We followed the advice's we got on protection and responsibility, like the healthcare-sector describes "safer sex" and sexuality on the terms from the HIV-negative partner. Still, I became a weekly criminal according to the strict interpretation of the law by the criminal justice system, where not even "safer sex" (as the term is usually defined in information material) exempt from criminal liability. I’m therefore at the mercy of my partners, in the past and the future, that they never change their personal views on shared responsibility for our sexual practices together. If it happens, it could mean more accusations and threats against me. This means that I’m no longer able to live with the confidence I should have to my partners. Instead, I'm always worried and suspicious towards people who really just want me well.

Most HIV-positive people, whatever sexual orientation, often want the same as people in general: Being able to live without fear, prejudice and ignorance, being able to choose partners and spouses without feeling like second-class citizens when it comes to public law and ignorant prejudice. You healthy people have to learn enough about HIV, so you understand that most of us don’t want to or ever can infect you. I belong to an increasing group that is successfully on medical treatment. People with HIV would pose a negligible risk of infection if the rest of you would help taking more responsibility for your own and others' sexual safety.

It is those HIV-positive who don’t know their own status yet, which accounts for most cases of infection. A lot of people are afraid to find out if they are infected or they think it’s unnecessary to be tested. Please join us to make it safer to live with HIV, so that more people dare to test more often and chooses to be open. In this way we can together push the numbers of newly infected, downwards. No one in their right mind can argue that it wouldn’t be to everyone's advantage? And to the families, friends, colleagues and partners: If we accept that society and individuals continue to put all the responsibility upon people with HIV, then we also say yes to a larger number of infected people who will choose to live in uncertainty and hide their own status, in the future. Like everything else that is unknown and frightening, it is only through knowledge we can break down prejudice and to take back the control. Politicians must do their part through a better legal system, but the rest of you must also contribute.

So far I belong to a small circle of people with HIV who choose to stick their neck out in the public, and I do so with fear of what may come. I don’t think it's going to be easy. But like other minority groups which also have women and men speaking up for them, I hope that it's not pointless to fight?

I consider myself to be a privileged man, because I can feel love for others, both emotionally and physically. This ability, I don’t want to lose. Therefore, I believe that maybe in the future I can say: "Just to let you know: I'm HIV-positive", without feeling insecure or afraid of the reaction from individuals and the society. The world is going to be full of prejudice and ignorance for a long time to come, perhaps forever? I will continue with others to fight, to my last breath.

* "He who with reasonable grounds to believe he is infected with a serious communicable disease, wilfully or negligently infects or expose another to a risk of being infected, shall be punished with imprisonment up to 6 years in cases of wilful violation and imprisonment for up to 3 years at negligent violation. " (My translation).