What the Experts Say

International Organisations

For more than a decade, UN and other international agencies have recognised HIV criminalisation as a global concern, calling for review of legal frameworks and the use of laws to target HIV.

Expert meeting on the scientific, medical, legal and human rights aspects of criminalisation of HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission

This report contains the views, opinions and suggestions for policy orientation and formulation of the participants at an expert meeting (convened on 31 August–2 September 2011 in Geneva, Switzerland) that brought together scientists, medical practitioners and legal experts in order (i) to consider the latest scientific and medical facts about HIV that should be taken into account in the context of criminalisation, and (ii) to explore how to best address issues of harm, risk, intent and proof—including alternative responses to criminalisation—in light of this science and medicine.

Fast Track and Human Rights – Advancing human rights in efforts to accelerate the response to HIV

Spells out for the first time (on p23) that there must be “Non-criminalization of mother-to-child transmission” when a country applies for validation for the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. This  marks the first time in public health history that human rights guarantees are considered a prerequisite to validating disease elimination.

Ending overly broad criminalisation of HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission: Critical scientific, medical and legal considerations

Restates UNAIDS’ position on criminalisation and makes specific recommendations to help governments, policy-makers, law enforcement officials, and civil society limit the overly broad application of criminal law to HIV.

Alternative links
Spanish / Español

Criminalization of HIV transmission Policy Brief

Urges governments to limit criminalisation of HIV to cases of intentional transmission. Argues that criminal law should not be applied in a range of circumstances, including where there is no significant risk of transmission.

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French/Français

HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights and Health

Presents coherent and compelling evidence base on human rights and legal issues relating to HIV, including commentary and recommendations.

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French/Français

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).

Includes comment (at 40) that States must reform laws that impede the exercise of the right to sexual and reproductive health. Examples include laws criminalizing non-disclosure of HIV status, and exposure to and transmission of HIV.

 

Alternative links
Spanish / Español, Russian / Русский

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

Commentary includes clear statements outlining many ways that criminalisation undermines effective HIV response.

Oslo Declaration on HIV Criminalisation

Outlines the importance of a cohesive, evidence-informed approach to use of criminal law relating to HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission. Urges Ministries of Health and Justice, public health officials, policymakers and criminal justice system actors to ensure a proportionate response to HIV transmission risk.

 

Alternative links
Chinese / 中文, French / Français, German / Deutsche, Italian / Italiano, Portuguese / Português, Russian / Русский, Spanish / Español

Criminalization of Women Living with HIV: Non-Disclosure, Exposure and Transmission

Seeks repeal of laws that criminalize non-intentional HIV exposure or transmission, and an end to laws that single out women living with HIV or people living with HIV for prosecution or increased punishment solely related to their HIV status. Argues criminal laws should only be used in extraordinary cases of intentional exposure or transmission.

International Community of Women Living with HIV (ICW) Position Statement on Criminalization of Women Living with HIV

Argues that criminalisation of women living with HIV for non-disclosure, exposure or transmission undermines public health strategies and increases risk of violence against women. Includes recommendations.