A ruling by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court finds that HIV may no longer be automatically considered a serious assault, according to the HIV Justice Network. Since 1999, under the Swiss Criminal Code any transmission or attempted transmission of HIV qualified as an offence relating to serious assault. A man recently appealed his conviction under the code, arguing that improved outcomes in life expectancy on antiretroviral treatment should make transmission of the virus qualify only as a common assault. Serious assault is punishable with a sentence of up to 10 years, but the maximum for common assault is three years. The federal court partially agreed with the man, ruling that HIV still qualifies as a serious assault, but only if the facts of a case support such a finding. Lower courts will have to determine in each case what level of assault applies.

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