Published July, 2013

Ending overly broad criminalisation of HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission: Critical scientific, medical and legal considerations, UNAIDS (2013)

This publication of UNAIDS supplements their 2008 report Policy Brief on criminalisation of HIV transmission, which analyzed the use of the criminal law against HIV positive defendants across the globe, and made recommendations about reducing these prosecutions worldwide. As Ending overly broad criminalisation of HIV notes, laws that make low-risk behavior illegal just because the perpetrator is living with HIV frustrate efforts to treat and prevent the spread of the disease. Here, UNAIDS makes even more suggestions for countries that want to update their policies to reflect the modern scientific community's understanding of HIV and AIDS. The paper's primary recommendation is that only those individuals who intend to transmit HIV, and are successful at doing so, should be prosecuted. Additionally, UNAIDS discourages jurisdictions from having HIV-specific statutes, and instead suggests that they use existing criminal laws, when appropriate. Lastly, the group advises against criminalizing non-dangerous behavior such as "where the person did not know that he or she was HIV positive" or "where the person did not disclose his or her HIV-positive status because of fear of violence or other serious negative consequences."

The goal of the UNAIDS Policy Brief is to preserve the rights and health of people living with HIV by aligning international laws with the realities of current medical care. For example, the group recommends that those facing charges for exposing others to HIV be permitted to cite their use of Antiretroviral Therapy, which has been shown to reduce the risk of transmission, as a defense. The paper provides powerful support for the Positive Justice Project Consensus Statement on the Criminalization of HIV in the United States.