Technical consultation in collaboration with the European AIDS Treatment Group and AIDS Action Europe on the criminalization of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, World Health Organization (WHO)

White Papers and Reports

This report, prepared by Richard Elliott of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, describes the work of the 2006 WHO technical consultation on the criminalization of HIV exposure and transmission. The consultation, which involved participants from all over Europe, focused on several key issues, including the application of criminal law to instances of unprotected sex, the relationship between criminal law and public health policy, the potential effect of criminal laws on the lives of HIV-positive people, and potential policy action on the part of governments and consultation participants. The executive summary indicates that participants “concluded that criminalization of HIV/STI transmission or exposure should be a last resort and only undertaken in a manner consistent with human rights conventions and laws, as outlined for example in instruments such as the International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights. Any instance of resort to criminalization represents a failure of prevention efforts, and participants highlighted the need for greater efforts on this front, including measures to overcome stigma and discrimination that undermine prevention.”