Responding to the Criminalization of HIV Transmission or Exposure: Resources for lawyers and advocates
In response to the increasing use of criminal law internationally, as well as to the great need to develop tools for lawyers representing people living with HIV, this kit provides both informative documentation to support lawyers in the preparation of their cases and selected publications that can ultimately be presented in court. Prepared by: Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, AIDES, Groupe sida Genève, Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+)
- Canadian consensus statement on HIV and its transmission in the context of criminal law
- Ending overly broad criminalisation of HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission: Critical scientific, medical and legal considerations
- Sexual activity without condoms and risk of HIV transmission in serodifferent couples when the HIV-positive partner is using suppressive antiretroviral therapy (2016)
- R. v. W  O.J. No. 3253 (Canada)
- E. J Bernard and S. Cameron, Advancing HIV Justice 2: Building momentum in global advocacy against HIV criminalisation (April 2016)
- Scientific research on the risk of the sexual transmission of HIV infection and on HIV as a chronic manageable infection (July 2016)
Table of Contents
Section 1: Understanding your client and your case
This is Section 1 of Responding to the Criminalization of HIV Transmission or Exposure: Resources for lawyers and advocates. Access the full kit at aidslaw.ca/lawyers-kit.
Some lawyers and service providers have lots of experience with HIV, while others may not have as much. There are a lot of common misconceptions about HIV — and left unchecked, they can pose problems for your client, in and out of the courtroom. This section includes basic information about HIV, HIV transmission and treatment, the realities of living with HIV and the complexity of HIV related criminal cases.
HIV and its transmission
Loutfy M., Tyndall M. et al., “Canadian Consensus Statement on HIV and its transmission in the context of the criminal law,” Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases & Medical Microbiology, 25(3) (2014): pp. 135-140.
For more information on the science of HIV transmission, go to section 4.
- CATIE, Detecting HIV earlier: Advances in HIV testing, 2013
Learning about HIV and living with HIV
- NAM, HIV Basics (see sections on HIV&AIDS, Testing, Treatment, Just diagnosed).
- Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, HIV Disclosure to Sexual Partners: An Overview, 2012.
- R. Hofman. “Why HIV Stigma is as deadly as the virus itself,” Poz Magazine, December 2009.
- Positive Women: Exposing Injustice, 2012 (free online documentary coproduced by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Goldëlox productions on the criminalization of HIV and its impact on women in Canada)
For information on the HIV epidemic globally, visit the UNAIDS website.
Lawyers discuss challenges of HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission cases
- Interview with Cynthia Fromstein, Canadian criminal defence lawyer, June 2010.
Section 2: Learning about the law (Canada and other countries)
This is Section 2 of Responding to the Criminalization of HIV Transmission or Exposure: Resources for lawyers and advocates. Access the full kit at aidslaw.ca/lawyers-kit.
This section provides detailed descriptions of the applicable national laws on HIV transmission and/or exposure, key decisions from national courts (some also included below in section 3), as well as articles from the relevant legal literature and other useful materials. It focuses on three countries — namely Canada, France and Switzerland — however, resources for lawyers and advocates from other countries can be found at the end of this section
N.B. 1: Resources published prior to October 2012 that describe the current state of the criminal law as it relates to HIV non-disclosure in Canada do not take into account the recent Supreme Court of Canada decisions in R. v. Mabior and R. v. D.C.
N.B. 2: Additional cases and a Canadian sentencing chart are available for defence lawyers, upon request. Please contact Cécile Kazatchkine at ckazatchkine [at] aidslaw.ca.
Summary of current law
- Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Criminal Law and HIV, Info sheets.
Key national cases
- R. v. Mabior, 2012 SCC 47 and R. v. D.C., 2012 SCC 48. (“realistic possibility of HIV transmission”)
Post-Mabior 2012 decisions:
Court of Appeal decisions:
- R. v. Felix, 2013 ONCA 415; R. v. Mekonnen, 2013 ONCA 414 (unprotected sex; condom use; lack of evidence on viral load)
- R. v. W  O.J. No. 3253 [accused’s identity intentionally removed] (Guilty plea, false pretense; absolute discharge)
- R v. Thompson, 2016 NSSC 134 (condom use or low viral load or no ejaculation)
- R. v. J.T.C., 2013 NSPC 105 (Acquittal; unprotected sex with an undetectable viral load)
- R. v. J.T.C., 2013 NSPC 88 (Condom use; low viral load; critical analysis of R. v. Mabior)
- R. v. Murphy, 2013 CanLII 54139 (ON SC) (Acquittal on oral sex count)
- R. v. P. (19 June 2015) Toronto (ONCJ) [unreported — accused’s identity intentionally removed] (Evidence; Seaboyer application)
- R. v. J.H., 2012 ONCJ 708 (Evidence ; Seaboyer application, Herpes)
- Det S. Cullingworth, VPD v. B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, (26 March 2014) Vancouver (PC) [unreported] (Production order – Confidentiality of medical records)
Pre-Mabior 2012 decisions:
Supreme Court of Canada decisions:
- R. v. Cuerrier,  2 S.C.R. 371. (First SCC case on HIV non-disclosure)
- R. v. Williams,  2 S.C.R. 134. (The law of attempt)
Court of Appeal decisions:
- R. v. Mabior (C.L.), 2010 MBCA 93. (Acquittal; use of a condom or unprotected sex with an undetectable viral load)
- R. c. D.C., 2010 QCCA 2289. (Acquittal; unprotected sex with an undetectable viral load)
- R. v. Wright, 2009 BCCA 514. (Viral load when available is very relevant)
- R. v. Pottelberg,  O.J. No. 5657 (Reasonable doubt whether complainant would have consented had he known)
- R. v. Boon, 2012 ONSC 441 (Evidence; Seaboyer application to introduce complainant’s previous sexual history – see contrary decision, R. v. G. A.C., 2013 ONSC 3232)
- R. v. J.A.T., 2010 BCSC 766; R. v. Nduwayo, 2010 BCSC 1277; R. v. J.U., 2011 ONCJ 457 (Unprotected sex does not necessarily represent a significant risk of HIV transmission — other relevant factors: position, number of acts, circumcision, ejaculation)
- R. v. Edwards, 2001 NSSC 80. (Oral sex; protected anal sex; community standards among gay men)
- R. v. Nduwayo, 2006 BCSC 1972 Summary; R. v. Nduwayo, 2010 BCSC 1277; R. v. Edwards, 2001 NSSC 80; R. c. D.C., 2008 QCCQ 629; R. v. Agnatuk-Mercier,  O.J. 4729 (QL); R. v. Smith,  S.J. 166 (QL); R. v. Imona-Russell, Unreported, Reasons for Judgment, 23 February 2009 (No legal duty to disclose when sex is protected)
- R. v. Aziga, (4 April 2009), Hamilton CR-08-1735 (Murder conviction)
- R. v. Bear, 2011 MBQB 191; R. v. Ratt, 2012 SKPC 154 (spitting cases)
- R. v. Jones,  N.B.J. 375 (QL). (Acquittal – Hepatitis C)
- E. Mykhalovskiy and G. Betteridge, “Who? What? Where? When? And with What Consequences?: An Analysis of Criminal Cases of HIV Non-disclosure in Canada”, Canadian Journal of Law and Society, 1,27 (2012): 31–53
- I. Grant, “The Prosecution of Non-disclosure of HIV in Canada: Time to Rethink Cuerrier,” McGill Journal of Law and Health 5(1) (2011): 7–59.
- I. Grant, “The over-criminalization of persons with HIV,” University of Toronto Law Journal 63,3 (2013): 475–484.
- M. Shaffer, “Sex, Lies and HIV: Mabior and the Concept of Sexual Fraud,” University of Toronto Law Journal 63,3 (2013): 467–474.
- A. Symington, “Injustice amplified by HIV non-disclosure ruling,” University of Toronto Law Journal 63,3 (2013): 485–495.
- Factum of the Interveners at the Supreme Court of Canada: R v. Mabior and R v. D.C., 2012.
- Consultation on Prosecutorial Guidelines for Ontario Cases Involving Non-disclosure of Sexually Transmitted Infections: Community Report and Recommendations to the Attorney General of Ontario, submitted by the Ontario Working Group on Criminal Law & HIV Exposure, June 2011.
- Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, HIV non-disclosure and Canadian criminal law: condom use, briefing paper, 2011.
- Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, HIV non-disclosure and Canadian criminal law: antiretroviral treatment and viral load, briefing paper, 2011.
Summary of current law
- AIDES, Introduction to French criminal law on HIV transmission, June 2010.
- Conseil national du sida et des hépatites virales [French National AIDS Council], Opinion followed by recommendations on the criminalisation of the sexual transmission of HIV in France, April 2015.
Key national cases
- Cass. Crim, 10 janvier 2006, n° 05-80787.
- Cass. Crim, 2 juillet 1998, n° 98-80529.
- CA Colmar, 4 janvier 2005.
- CA Rouen, 22 septembre 1999, n° de RG: 99-00018.
- Cour d’assises du Loiret, 3 décembre 2008, n° 50/2008.
- CA d’Orléans, 9 novembre 2007, n° de RG : 07/00291.
Summary of current law
- Kurt Pärli with the cooperation of Peter Moesch, in collaboration with Aids-Hilfe Schweiz, Criminal justice handling of HIV/AIDS in Switzerland in the light of HIV/AIDS prevention concerns: status quo, reflection, conclusions, fact-sheet on the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Study, 2009.
Key national cases
- Raoul Gasquez, juriste, Groupe sida Genève, Swiss cases on HIV transmission, 2010.
- Cour de Cassation pénale, S. contre Procureur Général du canton de Vaud, 22 February 1990, 116 IV 125.
- Cour de Cassation, X c. Zurich Ministère public du canton, 27 October 2004, AFT 131 IV (6S. 176/2004) JDT 2006 IV.Note: Translation from German to French is published with the authorization of JDT.
- “S” v. Procureur Général, Arrêt, 23 February 2009 (Chambre pénale) (Genève). (PDF contains original French judgment, unofficial English translation, and translator’s affidavit.)
- R. Gasquez, « Pour la dépénalisation de l’exposition au VIH », Plaidoyer, April 2009. (Unofficial translation)
- Aide Suisse contre le Sida, Pénalisation de la transmission du VIH, prise de position, January 2001.
- A. Cereghetti, « Incrimination de la transmission du virus VIH », in Dominique Bertrand et al.(eds), Médecin et droit médical: présentation et résolution de situations médico-légales, 3rd revised and completed ed. (Chêne-Bourg, Genève: éd. Médecine & Hygiène, 2009).
- The Center for HIV Law and Policy and Positive Justice Project, A Legal Toolkit: Resources for Attorneys Handling HIV-Related Prosecutions, Ending and Defending Against HIV Criminalization, A Manual for Advocates, Volume 2, 2013.
- The Association of Chief Police Officers and the National AIDS Trust, Investigation Guidance relating to the Criminal Transmission of HIV, 2010.
- National Aids Trust, HIV: A Guide for Polices: How to address HIV in police occupational health policies and blood-borne virus (BBV) training, June 2014 (revised edition).
- HIV/AIDS Legal Centre New South Wales (HALC), Criminal transmission of HIV: a guide for legal practitioners in NSW, May 2009.
- HIV/AIDS Legal Centre New South Wales (HALC), HIV/AIDS sentencing kit, 3rd ed., 2000.
- NAPWA Monograph, The criminalisation of HIV transmission in Australia: legality, morality and reality, 2009.
- R. Pearshouse, “Legislation contagion: building resistance,” HIV/AIDS Policy & Law Review 13,2/3 (2008): pp.1–10.
- C. Kazatchkine, “Criminalizing HIV Transmission or Exposure: The Context of Francophone West and Central Africa,” HIV/AIDS Policy & Law Review 14,3 (2010).
Section 3: Useful case law and guidance (international)
This is Section 3 of Responding to the Criminalization of HIV Transmission or Exposure: Resources for lawyers and advocates. Access the full kit at aidslaw.ca/lawyers-kit.
The context of criminal prosecutions related to HIV varies widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. This section highlights some important and useful case law internationally, guidelines for prosecutors which limit the pursuit of such cases as well as relevant guidance for judges on HIV, Human Rights and the Law.
For more information about legal developments internationally, see the HIV Justice Network website.
- E.L. v. the Republic, January 19, 2017 (Malawi) (breastfeeding)
- Aids Law Project v. Attorney General & 3 others  eKLR (Kenya) (HIV specific law; unconstitutional)
- Rhodes v. State of Iowa, the Supreme Court of Iowa, June 13, 2014 (US) (condom use, oral sex)
- R. v. J.T.C., 2013 NSPC 105. (Canada) (undetectable viral load)
- October 29, 2013 (Court of Appeal) (Sweden) (undetectable viral load and treatment).
- Court of Appeal’s press release (unofficial translation)
- R. v. Mabior (C.L.), 2010 MBCA 93. (Canada) (condom use; undetectable viral load) Note: Caution: this case was not upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2012.
- New Zealand Police v. Dalley,  22 C.R.N.Z. 495.(condom use; oral sex)
- “S” v. Procureur Général, Arrêt, 23 février 2009 (Chambre pénale) (Genève, Suisse). (PDF contains original French judgment, unofficial English translation, and translator’s affidavit.) (undetectable viral load)
Note: Further appeal dismissed on other grounds, Tribunal Fédéral, Arrêt du 30 juin 2009, 6B_260.
- R. v. Edwards, 2001 NSSC 80. (Canada) (condom use; oral sex)
- “AA” Case, Supreme Court of the Netherlands, 18 January 2005, Criminal Section no. 02659/03 IV/SB.(unprotected sex)
- Eastern High Court Prosecutor v. Jackie Madsen,7 August 2012 (Denmark) (HIV no longer life-threatening condition)
- R v Dica,  EWCA Crim 1103. (UK) (consent to the risk)
- People v. Plunkett, New York Court of Appeals, June 7, 2012 (US) (Aggravated assault; saliva cannot qualify as a dangerous instrument)
England & Wales
- The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Intentional or Reckless Sexual Transmission of Infection.
- The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), Policy for prosecuting cases involving the intentional or reckless sexual transmission of infection.
- Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (Scotland), Prosecution Policy on the Sexual Transmission of Infection, July 2014.
Handbook for judges
- UNAIDS, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Judging the epidemic: A judicial handbook on HIV, human rights and the law, 2013.
- PART I: The science and medicine of HIV.
- PART II: Chapter 5, The criminal law and HIV non-disclosure, exposure and/or transmission.
Section 4: Understanding the science
This is Section 4 of Responding to the Criminalization of HIV Transmission or Exposure: Resources for lawyers and advocates. Access the full kit at aidslaw.ca/lawyers-kit.
This section provides a detailed and fully referenced compilation of the latest scientific evidence and materials regarding treatment, per-act risks of HIV transmission and proving actual HIV transmission from one person to another.
Review of available scientific research, including the risk of HIV transmission during sexual relations and the nature of HIV
- D. McLay et al., “Scientific research on the risk of the sexual transmission of HIV infection and on HIV as a chronic manageable infection” (updated July 2016). Originally published in E. Mykhalovskiy, G. Betteridge and D. McLay, HIV Non-Disclosure and the Criminal Law: Establishing Policy Options for Ontario (Section 3). August 2010. Funded by the Ontario HIV Treatment Network.
- Prevention Access Campaign, “Risk of Sexual Transmission of HIV from a Person with HIV who has an Undetectable Viral Load: Messaging Primer,” September 12, 2016. (Frequently Asked Questions)
- M. Loutfy, M. Tyndall et al., “Canadian Consensus Statement on HIV and its transmission in the context of the criminal law,” Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases & Medical Microbiology 25, 3 (2014): pp. 135–140.
- The British HIV Association (BHIVA) and the Expert Advisory Group on AIDS (EAGA), “Position statement on the use of antiretroviral therapy to reduce HIV transmission,” January 2013.
- P. Vernazza et al., [The Swiss Statement] “Les personnes séropositives ne souffrant d’aucune autre MST et suivant un traitement antirétroviral efficace ne transmettent pas le VIH par voie sexuelle,” Bulletin des médecins suisses 89, 5 (2008): pp. 165–169. (PDF contains original French version, unofficial English translation, and translator’s affidavit.)
Significant scientific studies on the risks of HIV transmission
Risks of HIV transmission — general
- P. Patel et al., “Estimating per-act HIV transmission risk: a systematic review,” AIDS 28, 10 (June 19, 2014): pp. 1509–1519.
- M.C. Boily et al., “Heterosexual risk of HIV-1 infection per sexual act: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies,” The Lancet Infectious Diseases 9, 2 (2009): pp. 118–129.Reprinted from The Lancet Infectious Diseases 9, 2 (2009), with permission from Elsevier. Available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/14733099
- E. Vittinghoff et al., “Per-contact risk of human immunodeficiency virus transmission between male sexual partners,” American Journal of Epidemiology 150, 3 (1999): pp. 306–311.
- R.F. Baggaley, R.G. White and M.C. Boily, “HIV transmission risk through anal intercourse: systematic review, meta-analysis and implications for HIV preventions.” International Journal of Epidemiology 39, 4 (2010): pp. 1048–1063.
- F. Jin et al., “Per-contact probability of HIV transmission in homosexual men in Sydney in the era of HAART,” AIDS 24, 6 (2010): pp. 907–913.
- J.P. Hughes et al., “Determinants of Per-Coital-Act HIV-1 Infectivity Among African HIV-1–Serodiscordant Couples,” The Journal of Infectious Diseases 205, 3 (2012): pp. 358–365.
Treatment and Viral Load
- A.J. Rodger et al., “Sexual activity without condoms and risk of HIV transmission in serodifferent couples when the HIV-positive partner is using suppressive antiretroviral therapy,” JAMA 316, 2 (12 July 2016): pp. 171–181. Full free access. (PARTNER study)
- A.E. Grulich, B.R. Bavinton, F. Jin, G. Prestage, I. Zablotska, B. Grinsztejn, N. Phanuphak, R. Moore, K.K. Koelsch, “HIV Transmission in Male Serodiscordant Couples in Australia, Thailand and Brazil,” paper presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), 2015, Seattle, U.S.A. (abstract no. 1019LB).
- D. Champredon et al., “The effect of sexually transmitted co-infections on HIV viral load amongst individuals on antiretroviral therapy: a systematic review and meta-analysis,” BMC Infectious Diseases 15, 249 (June 30, 2015).
- M.R. Loutfy, W. Wu, M. Letchumanan, L. Bondy, T. Antoniou et al., “Systematic Review of HIV Transmission between Heterosexual Serodiscordant Couples where the HIV-Positive Partner Is Fully Suppressed on Antiretroviral Therapy.” PLoS ONE 8, 2 (2013): e55747.
- R.F. Baggaley, R.G. White, T.D. Hollingsworth, M.C. Boily, “Heterosexual HIV-1 infectiousness and antiretroviral use: systematic review of prospective studies of discordant couples” Epidemiology 24, 1 (2013): pp. 110–121.
- M.S. Cohen et al., “Prevention of HIV-1 Infection with Early Antiretroviral Therapy,” The New England Journal of Medicine 365 (2011): pp. 493–505. (Related news release: United States National Institutes of Health, “Treating HIV-infected people with antiretrovirals significantly reduces transmission to partners: Findings result from NIH-funded international study,” May 12, 2011.)
- S. Attia et al., “Sexual transmission of HIV according to viral load and antiretroviral therapy: systematic review and meta-analysis,” AIDS 23 (2009): pp. 1397–1404. (Abstract)
- C. Combescure et al., “How reliable is an undetectable viral load,” HIV Medicine 10 (2009): pp. 470–476.
- S.C. Weller and K. Davis-Beaty, “Condom effectiveness in reducing heterosexual HIV transmission (Review),” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 1 (2002) No.: CD003255. (Abstract)
- S.D. Pinkerton and P.R. Abramson, “Effectiveness of condoms in preventing HIV transmission,” Social Science & Medicine 44, 9 (1997): pp. 1303–1312 (Abstract).
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)
- CATIE statement on the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV
- “Oral sex and HIV risk,” [webpage]. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (US).
- R.F. Baggaley, R.G. White and M. Boily, “Systematic review of orogenital HIV-1 transmission probabilities,” International Journal of Epidemiology 37, 6 (2008): pp. 1255–1265.
- E. Vittinghoff et al., “Per-contact risk of human immunodeficiency virus transmission between male sexual partners,” American Journal of Epidemiology 150, 3 (1999): pp. 306–311.
- E. Mills, C. Cooper, A. Anema, G. Guyatt, “Male circumcision for the prevention of heterosexually acquired HIV infection: a meta-analysis of randomized trials involving 11 050 men,” HIV Medicine 9 (2008): pp. 332–335.
Biting and Spitting
- The Center for HIV Law and Policy, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives and the American Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, Spit Does Not Transmit, 2013.
- K.M. Richman and L.S. Rickman, “The potential for transmission of human immunodeficiency virus through human bites,” Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 6, 4 (1993): pp. 402–406.
- C. Tsoukas et al., “Lack of transmission of HIV through human bites and scratches,” Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 1, 5 (1988): pp. 505–507. (Abstract).
HIV as a chronic and manageable disease
- H. Samji et al., “Closing the gap: increases in life expectancy among treated HIV-positive individuals in the United States and Canada,” PLoS ONE 8 (2013): e81355.
- A. Rodger et al.,“Mortality in well controlled HIV in the continuous antiretroviral therapy arms of the SMART and ESPRIT trials compared with the general population”. AIDS 27 (2013): pp. 973–979.
- F. Nakagawa, M. May, A. Phillips, “Life expectancy living with HIV: recent estimates and future implications,” Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases 26, 1 (2013): pp. 17–25 (Abstract only)
- F. Nakagawa et al., “Projected life expectancy of people with HIV according to timing of diagnosis,” AIDS 26, 3 (2012): pp. 335–343 (Abstract only)
- N.F. Crum et al., “Comparisons of causes of death and mortality rates among HIV-infected persons: analysis of the pre-, early, and late HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy) eras,” Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 41, 2 (2006): pp. 194–200.
Scientific evidence on proving actual transmission of HIV
- NAM (London, UK), National AIDS Trust (London, UK), E.J. Bernard et al., The use of phylogenetic analysis as evidence in criminal investigation of HIV transmission, February 2007.
- E.J. Bernard et al., “HIV forensics: pitfalls and acceptable standards in the use of phylogenetic analysis as evidence in criminal investigations of HIV transmission,” HIV Medicine 8, 6 (2007): pp. 382–387.
- E.J. Bernard, “Claims that phylogenetic analysis can prove direction of transmission are unfounded, say experts,” Aidsmap News, November 24, 2010.
- National AIDS Trust, E.J. Bernard et al., Estimating the likelihood of recent HIV infection — implications for criminal prosecution, July 2011.
Section 5: International recommendations
This is Section 5 of Responding to the Criminalization of HIV Transmission or Exposure: Resources for lawyers and advocates. Access the full kit at aidslaw.ca/lawyers-kit.
This section provides international recommendations on the use of criminal law in cases of HIV non-disclosure, transmission and/or exposure.
- UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General comment No. 22 (2016) on the right to sexual and reproductive health (article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights), E/C.12/GC/22, May 2, 2016.
- UNAIDS, Ending overly broad criminalisation of HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission: Critical scientific, medical and legal considerations, 2013.
- Global Commission on HIV and the Law, HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights and Health, UNDP HIV/AIDS Group, July 2012 (Recommendations 2.1 to 2.5).
- UN General Assembly, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Anand Grover, Human Rights Council, Fourteenth session, Agenda item 3, A/HRC/14/20, April 27, 2010.
- UNAIDS, Policy brief: criminalization of HIV transmission, August 2008.
Section 6: The case against overcriminalization
This is Section 6 of Responding to the Criminalization of HIV Transmission or Exposure: Resources for lawyers and advocates. Access the full kit at aidslaw.ca/lawyers-kit.
This section provides information about the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure, exposure and/or transmission across the world as well as actions taken to reduce inappropriate use of the criminal law against people living with HIV. The section includes materials describing the challenges associated with HIV criminalization and its impact on public health and human rights.
- E. J Bernard and S. Cameron, Advancing HIV Justice 2: Building momentum in global advocacy against HIV criminalisation (Brighton/Amsterdam: HIV Justice Network and Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), April 2016).
- R. Jürgens et al., “Ten reasons to oppose the criminalization of HIV exposure or transmission,” Reproductive Health Matters 17, 34 (2009): pp. 163-172. (Abstract)
- Athena Network, Ten Reasons Why Criminalization of HIV Exposure or Transmission Harms Women, 2009.
- E. Cameron, “Criminalization of HIV transmission: poor public health policy,” HIV/AIDS Policy and Law Review 14, 2 (2009).
- S. Burris and E. Cameron, “The Case Against Criminalization of HIV Transmission,” JAMA 300, 5 (2008): pp. 578–581.
- J. Csete, R. Pearshouse, and A. Symington., “Vertical HIV transmission should be excluded from criminal prosecution,” Reproductive Health Matters 17, 34 (2009): pp. 154–162. (Abstract)
Key position statements against criminalization
- Resolution of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Concerning HIV Criminalization (U.S.), (May 21, 2016).
- National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (U.S.), “National HIV/AIDS Strategy Imperative: Fighting Stigma and Discrimination by Repealing HIV-Specific Criminal Statutes,” (February 2011).
- National AIDS Council of Germany, Consensus statement on HIV criminalization following consensual sex, (February 2013). (Unofficial English translation here.)
- Canadian Association of Nurses in AIDS Care, “Position Statement on HIV Criminalization,” (2011).
- HIV Medicine Association (U.S.), “HIVMA Urges Repeal of HIV-Specific Criminal Statutes,” (October 2012).
- Oslo Declaration on HIV Criminalization. Prepared by international civil society in Oslo, Norway, on February 13, 2012. (Available in many other languages at http://www.hivjustice.net/oslo/.)
Impact on Public Health and People Living with HIV
- Positive Women: Exposing Injustice, 2012 (free online documentary produced by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Goldelox Productions on the criminalization of HIV and its impact on women in Canada).
- More HARM Than GOOD, 2013 (free online documentary produced by the HIV Justice Network on HIV criminalization and its impact on public health).
- Consent: HIV non-disclosure and sexual assault law, 2015 (free online documentary produced by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Goldelox Productions on the problems of using sexual assault law to prosecute alleged non-disclosure of HIV).
Articles and Reports
- C Dodds et al., Keeping Confidence: HIV and the criminal law from service provider perspectives. Sigma Research, London, March 2013, see notably “Responsibility and Public Health.”
- P. O’Byrne, “Criminal Law and Public Health Practice: Are the Canadian HIV Disclosure Laws an Effective HIV Prevention Strategy?”, Sexuality Research and Social Policy 9 (2012): pp. 70–79.
- P. O’Byrne and M. Gagnon, “Special issue on the ramifications of the current context of criminal prosecutions for non-disclosure of HIV status on nursing practice,” Aporia: The Nursing Journal 4, 2 (April 2012).
- P. O’Byrne, A. Bryan, and C. Woodyatt, “Nondisclosure prosecutions and HIV prevention: Results from an Ottawa-based gay men’s sex survey,” Journal of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care 24, 1 (2013): pp. 81–87.
- E. Mykhalovskiy, “The problem of ‘significant risk’: Exploring the public health impact of criminalizing HIV non-disclosure,” Social Science & Medicine 73, 5 (2011): pp. 668–675.
- K.J. Horvath et al., “Should it be illegal for HIV-positive persons to have unprotected sex without disclosure? An examination of attitudes among US men who have sex with men and the impact of state law,” AIDS Care 22 (2010): pp. 1221–1228. (abstract only)
- C. Dodds, A. Bourne, and M. Weait, Responses to criminal prosecutions for HIV transmission among gay men with HIV in England and Wales, Reproductive Health Matters 17, 34 (2009): pp. 135–145.
- C.L. Galletly and J. B. Dickson-Gomez, “HIV seropositive status disclosure to prospective sex partners and the criminal laws that require it: Perspectives of persons living with HIV,” International Journal of STD & AIDS 20, 9 (2009): pp. 613–618. (abstract only)
- Burris et al., “Do criminal laws influence HIV risk behaviour? An empirical trial,” Ariz. State Journal 39 (2007): pp. 467–520.
- B.G. Brenner et al., “High rates of forward transmission events after acute/early HIV-1 infection,” The Journal of Infectious Disease 195, 7 (2007): pp. 951–959.
- C.L. Galletly and S.D. Pinkerton, “Conflicting messages: How criminal HIV disclosure laws undermine public health efforts to control the spread of HIV,” AIDS Behavior 10 (2006): pp 451–461. (Abstract)
- C. Dodds and P. Keogh, “Criminal prosecutions for HIV transmission: people living with HIV respond,” International Journal of STD & AIDS 17 (2006): pp. 315–318. Available at ijsa.rsmjournals.com.
The Latest Information: Keep Yourself Informed!