Presents an assessment of the legal, ethical, societal and health issues raised by criminal proceedings brought in France for acts of transmission or exposure to the risk of sexual transmission of HIV.
Argues that criminalisation undermines HIV prevention efforts, calls for a clear distinction between moral and legal issues, and calls on the judiciary to reconsider the application of criminalisation against people with HIV.
Explains the main reasons the National AIDS Trust opposes criminal prosecutions for reckless HIV transmission, and the limited circumstances where prosecutions may be an appropriate response.
Opposes laws that base criminal liability and/or penalty on HIV status, rather than intent to harm. Argues that focus on knowledge of status as a key element of an HIV-related crime rather than intent and capacity to transmit the virus, is a classic example of an inadequate mens rea (or criminal intent) requirement and overly expansive criminalization.
Calls for modernization of laws that exclude HIV and other infectious diseases from long-established interpretations of criminal felony laws requiring proof of intent to harm accompanied by conduct likely to cause death or severe injury for a conviction.
Provides technical assistance to ensure that HIV-related criminal laws and policies reflect contemporary medical and scientific understanding of the routes, risks, and consequences of HIV transmission.
Calls for federal action to address criminalisation including review of laws and cases.
Calls for the elimination of HIV-specific criminal laws and implementation of approaches to HIV consistent with the treatment of similar health and safety risks. Endorses the recommendations of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS for ending federal and state HIV-specific criminal laws, prosecutions, and civil commitments.
Endorsed by hundreds of organizations and individuals across the country, the statement indicates growing consensus about the need to end the use of special criminal laws that target persons with HIV for consensual sex or otherwise “exposing” another person to HIV. Demands that laws and practices be modernized to reflect current science and knowledge about HIV.