Abolish the criminalization of HIV

December 19, 2011

Routine criminal prosecutions for not disclosing HIV status should be abolished, write three HIV/AIDS experts in an article in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

"In Canada, despite remarkable medical advances that have made HIV/AIDS a manageable illness, recent years have seen an escalation in the number of people prosecuted for allegedly exposing sexual partners to the virus," write M-J Milloy, Thomas Kerr and Julio Montaner of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC. "An upcoming case being heard in February 2012 at the Supreme Court of Canada will likely set a new legal precedent to guide police and prosecutors. While some aspects of this case may well deserve a full and fair prosecution, there is no evidence that criminal prosecutions for HIV-nondisclosure protect individuals from infection."

The risk of from appropriately treated people is now exceedingly low, the authors write, thanks to advancements in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. Highly (HAART) has been remarkably successful in suppressing production of the virus, resulting in people being in long-term remission. As well, these prosecutions can lead to stigmatization of people infected with HIV, curtailing reporting of the virus and disrupting prevention activities.

"Today, there is a strong scientific basis to eliminate routine prosecutions for HIV nondisclosure," write the authors. "Furthermore, these criminal prosecutions generate stigma and discrimination that interferes with best medical practices and, as such, has multiple unintended . Prosecutions put the life of people living with HIV/AIDS at risk, increase the risk of and , and ultimately place the public at higher risk."

The authors say that the Criminal Code has appropriate measures to deal with people with HIV who are aware of their status and act with intent to harm others.

"Today, HAART has changed HIV/AIDS into a chronic manageable condition and has emerged as the most powerful strategy to prevent new infections through vertical, blood-borne or sexual routes," state the authors.

"It is time to embrace the scientific evidence, recognize the ability of HAART to virtually eliminate the transmission of HIV, and do away with criminal prosecutions for HIV nondisclosure," they conclude.

Explore further: Roll out treatment as prevention now to stop HIV and AIDS

More information: www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.111848

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7 comments

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Display comments: newest first

Nanobanano
5 / 5 (4) Dec 19, 2011
I disagree.

Any person who knowingly infects another person with HIV, by any means, has commited an act of terrorism.
evaitl
5 / 5 (3) Dec 20, 2011
I disagree with these guys too. They are following a path of stupid, one-dimensional activism.

Calling it terrorism though seems like a new version of Godwin's law.

Oigen
1 / 5 (1) Dec 20, 2011
Well it's about time given the outrageous number of false positives. See.... http://jemoreau.c...ves.html
FrankHerbert
1.8 / 5 (10) Dec 20, 2011
I just want to post this before freethinking inevitably comes in and tries to claim "christian lifestyles" prevent HIV.

Here is a map that shows the religious distribution of Africa.
http://upload.wik...crop.png

See any correlation?

Also, since he'll inevitably try to revert to "no true Christian" I'll just nip that in the bud right here.
http://en.wikiped...Scotsman
When faced with a counterexample to a universal claim, rather than denying the counterexample or rejecting the original universal claim, this fallacy modifies the subject of the assertion to exclude the specific case or others like it by rhetoric, without reference to any specific objective rule.

http://rationalwi...Scotsman
an individual attempts to avoid being associated with an unpleasant act by asserting that no true member of the group they belong to would do such a thing.


@QC
Don't delve into Islamophobia.
FrankHerbert
1.8 / 5 (10) Dec 20, 2011
I tried to add too much info on the "no true Scotsman" fallacy and the character counter deleted a large relevant chunk of my original post. Here it is with both maps:

I just want to post this before freethinking inevitably comes in and tries to claim "christian lifestyles" prevent HIV.

Here is a map that shows the religious distribution of Africa.
http://upload.wik...crop.png

Here is a map that shows the distribution of AIDS in Africa.
http://awtreyms.b...d970b-pi

See any correlation?

Also, since he'll inevitably try to revert to "no true Christian" I'll just nip that in the bud right here. (see above)

@QC (Nanobanano)
Let's keep your Islamophobia out of this topic, all right?
Duude
5 / 5 (1) Dec 23, 2011
People that knowingly transmit HIV to others care more about their own sexual pleasure than the fact that they are infecting another with a disease that will require medication for as long as they live. What's more is we have no clue about the future of HIV to mutate into a form that is resistant to current drugs. It could still be a death sentence in the future.
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (2) Dec 23, 2011
Not by any definition of the term "terrorism" that I have ever encountered.

have you written your own dictionary, Tard Boy?

"Any person who knowingly infects another person with HIV, by any means, has commited an act of terrorism." - NanoTard

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