Intended for healthcare professionals


Criminalising HIV transmission is counterproductive and should stop, experts say

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 26 July 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3261
  1. Richard Hurley
  1. Amsterdam

Twenty experts in AIDS research, epidemiology, and care have said in a joint statement that evidence does not support using laws to criminalise the transmission of HIV.

“In many cases, these misconceived laws exacerbate the spread of HIV by driving people living with, and at risk of, infection away from treatment services,” said Linda-Gail Bekker, one of the authors of the statement and professor of medicine at the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation in Cape Town.

“HIV criminalisation laws are ineffective, unwarranted, and discriminatory,” she said at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam on 25 July.

The statement was published in the Journal of the International AIDS Society.1 It said that, “Limited understanding of current HIV science reinforces stigma and may lead to miscarriages of justice.”

At …

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