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HIV criminalisation - 270 arrests recorded in the last three years


Jim Allen:

In brief:

--- Quote ---HIV criminalisation is “the unjust application of criminal laws, regulations and punitive policies against people living with HIV primarily based on their HIV-positive status.” Countries and jurisdictions can apply HIV-specific criminal laws (which exist in 82 countries) or general criminal laws (applied in 48 countries) against people living with HIV for non-disclosure to sexual partners, potential or perceived exposure to HIV, or alleged transmission.

Between January 2019 and December 2021, 275 arrests, prosecutions, convictions, appeals and/or acquittals in 39 countries were recorded in the HIV Justice Network’s database. However, the actual number of criminal cases is estimated to be around 700 cases globally.

Since the last report in 2019, important and promising developments in case law, law reform and policy have taken place in many countries and jurisdictions. HIV criminalisation laws were repealed in Sweden, Illinois, New Jersey, and Zimbabwe; an HIV criminalisation law was found unconstitutional in Colombia; and laws were modernised in Armenia, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Virginia and Washington State. Also, HIV-specific laws are currently going under constitutional challenges in Uganda and Kenya.

There were also precedent-setting cases in Finland, France, Spain and Taiwan, and policy recommendations or improvements in Canada, England, Wales, Kyrgyzstan and New Jersey. These outcomes were possible with the effective advocacy and collaboration between networks of people living with HIV, human rights organisations, healthcare providers, lawyers, and other allies.
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