Published May, 2006

Criminal Prosecutions for HIV Transmission: People Living With HIV Respond, C. Dodds and P. Keogh, International Journal of STD & AIDS (2006)

This article reviews the product of focus group surveys conducted in the United Kingdom on the issue of criminal prosecutions for HIV exposure. The focus groups of individuals living with HIV were recruited to discuss their thoughts around the prosecutions and the impacts on HIV stigma.

The study found that 90% of the comments were critical of laws criminalizing certain behaviors while HIV positive. A common theme was concern with how criminal cases would affect HIV prevention, treatment and care. The majority of the study participants made reference to collective responsibility—a belief that both partners bear responsibility for their risk of exposure and infection—and fears surrounding a potential increase in HIV stigma. Only about 10% of the study participants felt that criminalization of HIV exposure would be an effective preventive measure.