HIV criminal prosecutions and public health: an examination of the empirical research

Concludes that HIV-related criminal laws either fail to influence or increase STI testing avoidance, unprotected anonymous sexual contacts, and avoidance of health care because respondents do not feel safe speaking with health professionals. Suggests HIV-related criminal laws compromise public health and clinicians’ abilities to establish therapeutic relationships and to undertake HIV prevention and treatment work.

Men who have sex with men who believe that their state has a HIV criminal law report higher condomless anal sex than those who are unsure of the law in their state

Found very little variation in the sexual behaviour of gay men living in states with or without HIV specific criminal laws, suggesting legislation has a minimal impact on sexual behaviours. In fact, men who believed they lived in a state with such laws were slightly more likely to have sex without a condom, possible due to a false sense of security – expecting disclosure or protection from the law.

Do criminal laws influence HIV risk behaviour? An empirical trial

Found that people who believed the law required safer sex or disclosure reported being just as risky in their sexual behaviour as those who did not. Most believed it was wrong to expose others to HIV and right to disclose their HIV positive status to their sexual partners. Those beliefs were not influenced by understanding of the law or whether they lived in a state with such a law or not.

Conflicting messages: How criminal HIV disclosure laws undermine public health efforts to control the spread of HIV

Demonstrates how HIV disclosure laws disregard the effectiveness of universal precautions and safer sex, while criminalizing activities that are central to harm reduction efforts. Argues that criminalization uses disclosure-based HIV transmission prevention strategy as an implicit alternative to risk reduction and safer sex, undermining public health efforts. Describes how criminal HIV disclosure laws work against public health efforts to reduce HIV stigma.