Criminalization of HIV is counterproductive

December 10, 2018

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In many countries, people living with HIV are still being prosecuted for HIV non-disclosure, exposure or transmission, even though civil society activists and public health experts have long warned that these laws and prosecutions violate human rights: they stigmatize people living with HIV and discourage people from learning their HIV status. The Journal of the International AIDS Society has now published the “Expert Consensus Statement on the Science of HIV in the Context of the Criminal Law”, which was adopted in July during the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam. The article outlines the scientific evidence that proves that criminalization is a direct threat to the HIV response.

Chris Beyrer, Past President of the IAS: “After more than two decades of scientific investigation, it is now crystal clear that laws criminalizing HIV non-disclosure, exposure or transmission lack any scientific basis. If a person living with HIV is successfully taking HIV treatment, they simply cannot transmit the virus to another person. And even if the person living with HIV is not taking treatment or has yet to achieve viral suppression, the risk of transmission is far too low to bring the coercive arm of the criminal law into play.”

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