This Week In The Bmj

Making knowing transmission of HIV a criminal offence may have negative public health effects

BMJ 2001; 323 doi: (Published 17 November 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:c

Knowingly transmitting HIV is now a criminal offence in Scotland (the Glenochil judgment convicted a man for culpably and recklessly transmitting HIV to a female partner). Bird and Leigh Brown (p 1174) say that the Scottish Executive needs to take urgent steps to minimise the negative effects of this judgment, as even a modest fall in HIV testing (another possible result of the judgment) could increase new sexually transmitted HIV infections by a third. They also say that a form to explain the legal situation needs to be used nationwide by HIV counsellors and clients. In addition, molecular research investigations may be hampered because of the ability of the police to use them to discover incriminating evidence about HIV transmissions.

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