November 13, 2008
More Countries Criminalize Transmitting HIV
With a growing number of countries criminalizing HIV transmission, health officials are concerned that the trend may challenge the progress made in fighting the AIDS pandemic, The Associated Press reports.
According to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, 58 countries worldwide have laws that criminalize HIV or use existing laws to prosecute people for transmitting the virus, and another 33 are considering implementing similar legislation.
Health officials fear that the laws will reinforce AIDS-related stigmas and force those living with HIV to hide their status, further spreading the virus.
Thirty-two states in America have laws criminalizing HIV transmission.
“The criminal law is a blunt instrument,” said Kevin Osborne, a senior HIV adviser at International Planned Parenthood Federation. “If you put everyone in prison with HIV, then you think you’ve controlled it. But you haven't dealt with the issues around the intimate behaviors that spread HIV.”
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