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October 23, 2008

Swedish Health Agency Refused to Help Police in HIV Probe

The Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control is under fire for refusing to help police catch people who deliberately infect others with HIV, The Associated Press reports.

Officials for the agency told the medical newspaper Dagens Medicin that they declined to cooperate with the police because they disagreed with the current legislation that criminalizes the willful spread of HIV virus.

According to the article, when the police accused the institute of placing itself above the law, officials from the institute backtracked by saying they had no problem with the law but felt it was too harsh. The penalty for willfully spreading HIV is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Jan Albert, an expert at the agency, said the threat of imprisonment harms prevention efforts because some people who suspect they may have the virus refrain from getting tested for fear of prosecution. Although the agency declined to cooperate with the police initially, “we’ve come to the understanding that we’ll resume work with the police,” Albert says.

Search: Sweden, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, criminalization


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