Advancing HIV Justice: Achievements and Challenges in Global Advocacy Against HIV Criminalisation – African Update (ICASA 2013)

Although North America is the continent with the most known prosecutions, 26 African countries have overly broad and/or vague HIV-specific criminal laws and another 3 are considering enacting similar laws. This analysis reviewed global efforts in five broad areas: building the global evidence base; generating persuasive social science; challenging new laws; advocating for law reform; and addressing legal processes and enforcement.

HIV disclosure without consent linked to increased risk of verbal and physical violence against women living with HIV in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia

Examines the prevalence and correlates of violence against women living with HIV due to HIV status in Metro Vancouver and examines the particular impact of non-voluntary HIV disclosure. Found that WLWH who had their HIV status disclosed without consent had 5-fold increased risk of experiencing HIV-related violence. Suggests that the criminalisation of HIV non-disclosure may contribute to and reproduce gender-based violence, and raises concern about stigma, discrimination, and women’s confidentiality rights.

HIV Criminalization: Attitudes and Opinions of the American Public

Assessed current attitudes about HIV-related issues and tested messages that might be used to educate the general public and gain support for advocacy to modernise or repeal HIV criminalisation statutes. Suggests great opportunity to change public opinion but messaging must be simple, easy to understand and to the point. Information that current laws are inconsistent with scientific knowledge had considerable resonance, as does messaging that HIV laws unintentionally discourage testing, obtaining treatment and voluntary disclosure. Messages about civil liberties were least effective.

Criminalising HIV transmission: is this what women really need?

Outlines Sub Saharan Africa’s proliferation of legislation criminalizing HIV exposure and/or transmission, highlighting its negative impact on women. Argues UNAIDS, USAID, and other international health agencies must take urgent action to educate lawmakers and civil society about the limitations of criminal law to prevent HIV transmission and the harms of criminalization laws already in place.