XVIII International AIDS Conference


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Where HIV is a crime, not just a virus: a global ranking of prosecutions for HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission

Presented by Edwin Jeremy Bernard (Germany).

E.J. Bernard1,2,3

1Edwin J Bernard, criminalhivtransmission.blogspot.com, Berlin, Germany, 2NAM, London, United Kingdom, 3GNP+ Global Network of People living with HIV/AIDS, Global Criminalisation Scan, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Issues: The global (mis)use of the criminal law to control and punish the behaviour of PLHIV was highlighted at IAC 2008, where Justice Edwin Cameron called for "a campaign against criminalisation". However advocacy on this vitally important issue is in its infancy, hampered by lack of information on a local, national and international level.
Description: A global overview of prosecutions to October 2009, based on data from GNP+ Global Criminalisation Scan; media reports collated on criminalhivtransmission.blogspot.com and WHO Europe pilot human rights audit. Top 20 ranking is based on the ratio of rate per year/per HIV population.
Lessons learned: Prosecutions for non-intentional HIV exposure and transmission continue unabated. More than 60 countries have prosecuted HIV exposure or transmission and/or have HIV-specific laws that allow for prosecutions. At least eight countries enacted new HIV-specific laws in 2008/9; new laws are proposed in 15 countries or jurisdictions; 23 countries actively prosecuted PLHIV in 2008/9. Table shows Top 10.

Ranking Based on rate per year/per HIV+ population ratioCountryEstimated adult HIV+ population end 2007 (includes undiagnosed)First prosecutionTotal estimated prosecutions, to end Oct 2009Rate per yearRate per year/per HIV population ratioReported arrests/ prosecutions Jan-Oct 2009
[Global Criminalisation Ranking (Key)]

4New Zealand1,4001995100.710.0511
[Global Criminalisation Ranking]

Next steps: PLHIV networks and civil society, in partnership with public sector, donor, multilateral and UN agencies, must invest in understanding the drivers and impact of criminalisation, and work pragmatically with criminal justice system/lawmakers to reduce its harm.

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