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Gay Iowa man denied relief under HIV-criminalization law

Court rules Rhoades could have infected partner through unprotected oral sex



National LGBT Bar Association, Gay News, Washington Blade

The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled that a gay Iowa man was at risk of infecting his partner through unprotected oral sex. (image via wikimedia).

A gay HIV-positive man in Iowa was unable Wednesday to obtain relief from his conviction under a state HIV criminalization law because he received unprotected oral sex while withholding his HIV status.

In a 3-0 ruling, the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled Nick Rhoades is ineligible for post-conviction relief because he may have transmitted HIV to his sexual partner in 2008 through oral sex. Judge Richard Doyle wrote the opinion.

“Sexual intercourse may be committed through oral sex, and oral sex is a well-recongized means of transmission of HIV,” Doyle writes. “The person exposed to HIV need not become infected with the virus in order for the infected person to be prosecuted under section 709C.1(4).”

In 2008, Rhoades had a one-night-stand with Adam Plendi. After meeting online at, Rhoades went to Plendi’s home in Cedar Falls and the two had consensual sex. Rhoades received unprotected oral sex, and then the two had protected anal sex in which Plendi was the receptive partner. Rhoades is HIV-positive, but didn’t disclose that information to Plendi, who wasn’t infected by the encounter.

After later learning that Rhoades is HIV-positive, Plendi contacted the police, who charged Rhoades with criminal transmission of HIV. Under advice from his attorney, Rhoades pled guilty to the charges and was given the maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and classified as a sex offender. Several months later the court reconsidered the decision, suspended Rhoades’ prison sentence and placed him on supervised probation for five years.

In March 2010, Lambda Legal on behalf of Rhoades applied for post-conviction relief, arguing his attorney who advised him to plead guilty had failed to inform him of the specifics of the statute. Rhoades contended he didn’t violate the law because the anal sex was protected and during oral sex he didn’t intend to ejaculate.

In December 2011, the district court denied the application. The court of appeals decision on Wednesday affirmed that denial.

“[T]hat Rhoades may not have ejaculated during the unprotected oral sex is irrelevant,” the decision states. “Here, the minutes of testimony unequivocally establish Rhoades engaged in unprotected oral sex with A.P., and consequently, Rhoades’s claim that he did not ejaculate provides no support to his argument there was a lack of a factual basis regarding the ‘intent element’ of ‘intimate contact.’ We therefore conclude a factual basis existed to support Rhoades’s plea of guilty.”

The general consensus of research indicates while HIV infection through unprotected oral sex is possible, it’s extremely unlikely. According to the website for the Minnesota AIDS Project, the risk of HIV transmission is very low because the mouth is an unfriendly environment for HIV.

“Saliva contains enzymes that break down the virus and the mucous membranes in the mouth are more protective than anal or vaginal tissue,” the website states. “There are a few documented cases where it appears that HIV was transmitted orally and those cases are attributed to ejaculation into the mouth.”

The website for the Centers for Disease Control says “it is possible” to infect someone with HIV through performing or receiving oral sex and there have been a few reported cases of transmission, but it’s a less common mode of transmission than anal and vaginal sex.

Christopher Clark, Lambda’s senior staff attorney, said his organization is “extremely disappointed” because the conviction is the result of “a misinterpretation of the plain language of the statute.”

“Someone who engages in safe sex, as Nick did, does not have the intent required to support a conviction under Iowa’s law concerning the criminal transmission of HIV,” Clark said.

Clark said Lambda is reviewing possible options with Rhoades in the aftermath of the ruling, which includes a potential appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court.

According to Lambda, 39 states have HIV-specific criminal statutes or have brought HIV-related criminal charges, resulting in more than 160 prosecutions in the United States in the past four years. The laws have been criticized for creating a disincentive for HIV testing and potentially discouraging the disclosure of HIV status.

Scott Schoettes, HIV Project Director for Lambda Legal, said the court decision demonstrates the harm of HIV-criminalization laws.

“This decision is another example of how our outdated perceptions of and misunderstandings about HIV are still driving public policy, leading to horrifying criminal penalties for the person living with HIV, even in situations where no harm was intended or actually occurred,” Schoettes said.

Sean Strub, a native Iowan and founder of POZ Magazine, said the court decision is based on “misconceptions” over HIV transmission.

“There’s never been a documented, proven case where HIV was transmitted through anal sex from someone known to have an undectable viral load, let alone oral sex as was under consideration in this ruling,” Strub said. “It hasn’t even been established for certain that HIV is ever transmitted through oral sex, even when a person has a detectable viral load, except when there are open sores or other extreme circumstances.”

Legislation is pending before the Iowa Legislature that would modify the state’s HIV criminalization law. It passed the Iowa State Senate Judiciary Committee last year by an 11- 2 vote with bi-partisan support. Strub said he’s hopeful in this next legislative session the bill will pass and be signed into law by Gov. Terry Branstad.

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  1. Norman Dostal

    October 3, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    he clearly didnt deserve jail time-no one gets HIV through oral-just doesnt happen-but he is a piece of garbage for not telling his partner-

    • Alister

      October 4, 2013 at 1:14 pm

      I wonder why his partner didn’t ask his status? Perhaps the “piece of garbage” is the slutty bottom that bends over for a man without knowing him that well. Just something to ponder.

  2. Andrew Bolander

    October 7, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    I hope they dont give up the fight to get him freed- this is a gross sentence – way too extreme

  3. Russell Friend Schramm

    October 7, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    if you're going to have sexual contact with someone you have to let that person know if you're hiv poz. it's your responsibility, no getting around it. whether the person continues or not is up to them.

  4. DB

    October 8, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    He should receive life in prison. There is absolutely no situation in which an infected person should be able to have sex with someone without disclosing his status and without using a condom. The only way to end the pandemic is to strengthen and expand these laws banning exposing people to this virus. Any time someone is infected, they need to be instructed that it is unacceptable to expose other people to the risk of infection without full disclosure and without using a condom every time.

  5. Apostle Shada Mishe

    October 28, 2013 at 4:04 pm


    Apostle Shada Mishe
    [email protected]

    Sir / Madam,
    For the past 12 years I have been studying and researching Ambush, a Palm plant extract that is effective in curing HIV.

    Name of Plant; Palm

    Name of ingredient: Ambush

    Molecular weight 640 (similar to the sequisulfides)

    Where found: In and around the areas of South Florida where uranium waste was dumped in the 1920's from the nuclear programme that has now leaked out into the water system. A specie of the PALM plant has picked up this waste to be the valuable AMBUSH.

    Chemical compd; Uranium isotope (cus.n) Grayish white soft metallic compound NOT found in chemistry books.

    Uses: Antiviral DRUG..Ambush

    Found to "KILL" the HIV virus when given in a dose of 60 ml three times daily for 21 days at a known concentration.

    Mode of action.. Ambush kills the HIV virus by causing the viral shell to rupture . In the lymph system Ambush produces "natural radioactivity" that "kills" the virus that 'hides' in the lymph system . This crosses the blood-brain barrier since the 'patients' claim that they are able to see,hear and think more clearly after taking Ambush.

    Viral Loads…This decreases from 100,000 to 'undetectable' in 21 days….. but I have had patients VL go to 'undetectable ' in 5 days.

    1. After 5 to 7 days of treatment, patients MAY complain of HEADACHES.
    2. After 5 to 7 days male patients experience an increase in erection.
    3. Stool becomes soft and REGULAR
    4. Patients c/o being WARM in the trunk area mainly at night when lying down.

    Toxicology……Before administering to any person a complete toxicological analysis was done to include, arsenic, barbiturates and NO KNOWN poisons or harmful substances to mankind were found.


    Skin…becomes clean, smooth and free of eczema or other say they have small eczema patches in the first week that go away by the third week.

    Since this is a very LARGE molecule it is excreted relatively unchanged via urine and feces.

    After 149 days the patents revert to being HIV NEGATIVE after finishing a course in Ambush hence no one goes public to say they WERE HIV positive.
    Pharmacology of Ambush on the GUT of an end stage AIDS person.

    It is known that late stage AIDS patients posses a high level of the virus in the GUT which should include the entire GI tract from stomach to rectum. Here the virus is found in the lining and this is difficult for ARV's because these are the areas needed by the ARV's to enter the blood supply. There is not a high enough blood level returning back to the stomach lining hence the virus remains in high concentration.

    This causes the person's appetite to decrease which causes a spiraling downhill of the body.

    When Ambush is taken in the liquid form, it is slightly basic and forms a stable compound in the acidic stomach.The Ambush compound is close to the stomach lining to exert the "natural radioactivity" effect which kills the virus in the stomach. Here the entire mid section feels very warm and sometimes feverish. The infected stomach lining with the dead areas is then passed out as a black slime in the stool. This usually happens about day 4 while on an Ambush regime of 60 ml three times daily for 21 days, wherein the person has a large bowel movement.

    After the bowel movement, the person becomes extremely hungry and eats TWO to THREE times a normal serving. Here I usually recommend cornmeal porridge with butter or cooking oil as a prevention against malnutrition and add a daily multivitamin. By day 10 the stomach has recovered and the person eats normally.


    The challenge is to find a Virologist, or Biologist of HIV Researcher who is willing to put some Ambush in a Human culture medium infected with the HIV virus, incubate with proper controls and report their findings to the world.

    More info is at or

    Thank you for your interest and we will be happy to send you samples and answer any and all questions.

    Apostle Shada Mishe
    [email protected]
    Dallas Texas,
    1-972 294 5161

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Anti-LGBTQ Daily Wire host says 2 men shouldn’t be allowed to adopt babies

” […] because babies need mothers. They also need fathers, which is why two women shouldn’t be allowed either.”



Screenshot of Matt Walsh via YouTube (Blade file photo)

NASHVILLE – Anti-LGBTQ Daily Wire podcast and YouTuber Matt Walsh joined the growing chorus of far-right and conservative voices outraged that U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg went on paternity leave from his job in August after he and his husband Chasten had adopted two children.

On his show Monday Walsh not only criticized Buttigieg, but he attacked same-sex couples adopting children altogether.

It’s absurd for any public employee, paid on taxpayer dime, to be given that much time off. Now, you can make an argument for women on maternity leave but not for men. Paternity leave is a nice luxury for private companies that can afford it. The U.S. government is not a private company – it’s a public institution, deeply in debt, failing in just about every way and everywhere. So this is not a time and not the place for those kinds of luxuries. But that’s the somewhat safer point to make, right? You are in a much more hazardous place, you are in more hazardous waters when you go away from that and, instead, you start saying mildly critical things about paternity leave in general as a concept.”

I also didn’t say that there’s nothing at all for a man to do for his family after a child is born. I said that as far as caring for the newborn himself, most of that is going to be done by the mother. She, in most cases, will be feeding the child. The child also needs and wants his mother’s presence, his mother’s touch, her voice. The father should be interacting with the baby also, obviously, but the infant is far more focused on his mother at that age. And needs his mother more. There is no mother in the Buttigieg household, but that doesn’t change the point here.”

Babies need their mothers, which is why two men shouldn’t be allowed to adopt babies in the first place. And the outrage mob can now start a secondary campaign over that comment. But I’ll say it again. Two men should not be allowed to adopt babies because babies need mothers. They also need fathers, which is why two women shouldn’t be allowed either.

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Pete Buttigieg calls out Tucker Carlson over attack

Fox News host mocked transportation secretary over paternity leave



U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (Washington Blade file photo)

Appearing remotely on MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace’s politics program Friday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called out Fox News host Tucker Carlson for the attack on his parental leave.

“This attack is coming from a guy who has yet to explain his apparent approval for the assassination of Harvey Milk, ” Buttigieg said.

During his Thursday evening program Carlson said, “Pete Buttigieg has been on leave from his job since August after adopting a child—paternity leave, they call it—trying to figure out how to breastfeed. No word on how that went. But now he’s back in office as the transportation secretary and he’s deeply amused, he says, to see that dozens of container ships can’t get into this country.”

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Biden recognizes National Coming Out Day as time to honor LGBTQ people

White House statement denounces ‘bullying and harassment’



President Biden recognized Oct. 11 as National Coming Out Day in a statement on Monday calling the occasion a time to celebrate the “courage of LGBTQ+ people who live their lives with pride, create community with open arms and hearts, and showcase the strength of being your authentic self.”

Biden ticked off in the statement the achievements on LGBTQ policy, including signing an executive order on his first day in his office ordering federal agencies to implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year against anti-LGBTQ discrimination to the furthest extent possible.

“Despite the extraordinary progress our nation has made, our work to ensure the full promise of equality is not yet done. Anti-LGBTQ+ bills still proliferate in state legislatures,” Biden said. “Bullying and harassment — particularly of young transgender Americans and LGBTQ+ people of color — still abounds, diminishing our national character. We must continue to stand together against these acts of hate, and stand up to protect the rights, opportunities, physical safety, and mental health of LGBTQ+ people everywhere.”

Read Biden’s full statement below:

Statement by President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. on National Coming Out Day

Today, we celebrate National Coming Out Day and the courage of LGBTQ+ people who live their lives with pride, create community with open arms and hearts, and showcase the strength of being your authentic self. Today and every day, I want every member of the LGBTQ+ community to know that you are loved and accepted just the way you are – regardless of whether or not you’ve come out.

My Administration is committed to ensuring that LGBTQ+ people can live openly, proudly, and freely in every corner of our nation. I am proud to lead an Administration with LGBTQ+ officials serving openly at the highest levels of government — and prouder that together we have made historic progress advancing protections and equal opportunities for the LGBTQ+ community. From acting on Day One to prevent and combat discrimination, to enabling all qualified Americans – including transgender Americans – to serve their country in uniform, to defending the human rights of LGBTQ+ people around the world, my Administration has been clear that we will continue to champion the dignity, equality, and wellbeing of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Despite the extraordinary progress our nation has made, our work to ensure the full promise of equality is not yet done. Anti-LGBTQ+ bills still proliferate in state legislatures. Bullying and harassment — particularly of young transgender Americans and LGBTQ+ people of color — still abounds, diminishing our national character. We must continue to stand together against these acts of hate, and stand up to protect the rights, opportunities, physical safety, and mental health of LGBTQ+ people everywhere. From defeating discriminatory bills to passing the Equality Act, we have more work to do to ensure that every American can live free of fear, harassment, and discrimination because of who they are or whom they love.

To LGBTQ+ people across the country, and especially those who are contemplating coming out: know that you are loved for who you are, you are admired for your courage, and you will have a community — and a nation — to welcome you. My Administration will always have your back, and we will continue fighting for the full measure of equality, dignity, and respect you deserve.

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