The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol) is the first international legally binding human rights instrument to recognize the intersection between women’s human rights and HIV. In Article 14 (1) (d) and (e), the Maputo Protocol lays down women’s right to self-protection and to be protected from HIV infection, as well as their right to be informed of their HIV status and the HIV status of their partners in accordance with international standards and practices in force. As such, the Maputo Protocol is therefore, in practice, an important tool towards the alleviation of the disproportionate effect of the HIV pandemic on the lives of women in Africa. Even though considered as a landmark, the provisions of the Maputo Protocol on HIV are not very explicit on the measures to be taken by States Parties to ensure the full implementation of women’s rights to sexual and reproductive health. In order to meet this objective, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) adopted these General Comments on Article 14 (1) (d) and (e) at its 52nd Ordinary Session held from 9 to 22 October 2012 in Yamoussoukro, Côte d’Ivoire.
This policy brief represents the view, as women living with HIV, of the current state of criminalization of HIV among women in Canada and the United States after reviewing academic and grey literature, statutes and policies and an unpublished survey of membership. ICW-NA members highlighted their concern about stigma and discrimination in the justice system related to HIV non-disclosure.
Review of materials from 15 police constabularies found police practice was adversely influenced by numerous factual inaccuracies including routes of transmission, likelihood of infection, harms of infection, and need to segregate people in custody. Recommends review of police training materials and new training about HIV.
Sets out how prosecutors should deal with cases involving an allegation of intentional or reckless sexual transmission of, or exposure to, infection which has serious, potentially life threatening consequences for the person infected.
Explores use of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 to prosecute people who have transmitted HIV infection to sexual partners in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Examines evidence in cases of sexual HIV transmission and considers the likely impact that criminalising HIV transmission has on public health, especially HIV prevention. Includes recommendations.
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.
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.