News

Viral load will be no defence against prosecution for HIV exposure or transmission in Norway
Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 11:45 | 2012 | Norway

HIV campaigners reacted with dismay today to the issuing of a report by a Norwegian Commission on HIV and the Law which, while making one significant concession in the shape of allowing condom use as a defence, in some other ways strengthens the options the state has to prosecute individuals who infect, or expose others to, HIV.

Until now individuals were prosecuted in Norway under a 1902 law intended to be used against people who negligently or deliberately spread contagious diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) but which has, in practice, only ever been used in cases involving HIV, and only since 1991, apart from one isolated case in the 1930s.

HIV and disclosure: How the Supreme Court of Canada got it wrong
Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 11:36 | 2012 | Canada

On Oct. 5, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decisions in two cases dealing with the tricky issues of criminal liability for HIV nondisclosure. The court ruled that people living with HIV have a legal duty to tell their sexual partners about their HIV infection except in a narrow set of circumstances — where the risk that HIV would be transmitted approaches zero. These decisions are a step backward for HIV prevention efforts, unjust for people living with HIV, and do nothing to advance sexual assault jurisprudence.

Unfortunately, some initial media reports of the decisions exhibited amnesia toward the state of the law on this issue, implying that people living with HIV could previously be found guilty for not always disclosing their HIV status to sexual partners, in every circumstance. Some coverage implied that these new decisions represented “get out of jail free” cards for people behaving irresponsibly, as if Canadians would no longer be able to protect themselves against infection.

If you wear a condom, you might not need to reveal HIV status: Inside the new rules of disclosure
Monday, October 8, 2012 - 11:22 | 2012 | Canada

Canada’s top court ruled Friday that a failure to disclose HIV status to a sexual partner is no longer grounds for prosecution — that is, so long as the person uses a condom and has only low levels of the virus. Here, the National Post’s Kathryn Blaze Carlson outlines eight things you should know about the controversial move.

Editorial: HIV and law, an evolution
Monday, October 8, 2012 - 11:04 | 2012 | Canada

Ottawa Citizen - The Supreme Court is right to recognize that the law governing HIV disclosure must evolve along with the science.

Advocates on either side of the issue will disagree about what that means in practice and whether the law is evolving too quickly or not quickly enough. And this is one issue where even the most extreme positions are backed up by reasonable arguments.

Canada Supreme Court Ruling Major Step Backwards for Public Health and Human Rights
Friday, October 5, 2012 - 18:14 | 2012 | Canada

October 5, 2012 — As a coalition of interveners, we are shocked and dismayed at today’s ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada that says that even the responsible use of a condom does not protect a person living with HIV from rampant prosecution. The Court’s judgments in R. v. Mabior and R. v. D.C., two cases relating to the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure, are a cold endorsement of AIDS-phobia. They will stand as an impediment to public health and prevention, and add even more fuel to stigma, misinformation and fear. And they place Canada once again in shameful opposition to standards set out by international human rights bodies, UNAIDS and the Global Commission on HIV and the Law.

Top court to rule on HIV disclosure with sex partners
Friday, October 5, 2012 - 15:40 | 2012 | Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada is set to issue a landmark ruling Friday whether people with low levels of HIV need to disclose their condition to sexual partners.

The top court will essentially be updating a decision from 14 years ago which made it a crime for anyone who failed to do so, an offence that is punishable by up to life in prison.

The Supreme Court will rule on two separate cases from Quebec and Manitoba in which charges brought against those who failed to disclose their condition were overturned by appeals courts.

Appeals court reverses conviction in HIV-infection case, ruling statute ambiguous
Friday, October 5, 2012 - 15:37 | 2012 | USA- Minnesota

In a split decision Monday, the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of an HIV-positive man who was accused of passing the virus to another man through unprotected sex, ruling that the statute was ambiguous.

[XXXX], 31, was convicted last October of attempted first-degree assault under a statute that makes it a crime to knowingly transfer a communicable disease through "sexual penetration with another person without having first informed the other person" of his positive status.

Read the whole story here

HIV+ woman guilty of infecting husband
Wednesday, August 1, 2012 - 00:00 | 2012 | Zimbabwe

AN agricultural extension officer who was recently found guilty on charges of deliberately infecting her husband with the HIV virus by a Bulawayo magistrate is now challenging the conviction at the Supreme Court.

Samukeliso Mlilo (34) was charged based on the controversial section 79 of the Zimbabwean Criminal Law Act.

Mlilo had no legal representative in the initial stages of her trial. But she was relieved when Lizwe Jamela, a renowned human rights lawyer with the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) took her case.

He managed to take the matter to the Supreme Court before Mlilo was sentenced. He argues that the law is unconstitutional and discriminates against people living with HIV/AIDS.

Greece Prostitutes Arrested, 17 HIV-positive Women In Brothels
Monday, May 7, 2012 - 15:42 | 2012 | Greece

ATHENS, Greece -- Greek authorities announced the arrest Wednesday of 17 HIV-positive women who allegedly worked illegally as prostitutes, accusing them of intentionally causing serious bodily harm.

The names and photographs of 12 of the women were published on the Greek Police's website, angering human rights advocates who said it was unclear whether the women were aware they had HIV.

"This is an appalling violation of human rights and medical confidentiality ... an unprecedented action stigmatization," Positive Voice, a group that helps people with HIV, said in a statement.

(AP/ 02-052012 / DEREK GATOPOULOS)

EAST AFRICA: Regional HIV Bill passed without criminalization clause
Friday, April 27, 2012 - 00:00 | 2012 | East Africa

East Africa's Legislative Assembly has passed a regional HIV/AIDS Bill that seeks to protect the rights of people living with HIV and harmonize regional legislation and policy on the prevention and treatment of HIV.

Activists have welcomed the passing of the Bill, which, unlike some of the laws in the region's individual member states, does not criminalize the deliberate transmission of HIV.

"Criminalization impedes rather than promotes the fight against HIV, because it violates the rights of people living with HIV on many fronts," Nelson Otuoma, the coordinator of the Network of People Living with HIV and AIDS in Kenya (NEPHAK), told IRIN/PlusNews.

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