Criminalization of hiv transmission might end 35 years of work

  • December 4, 2015
  • News

criminzalizacion vihIt is important to consider whether the applicable laws and regulations regarding the criminalization of hiv transmission are actually a way to seek justice or they are just a measure to avoid political responsibility on hiv prevention.

Recently in Argentina, a man sentenced to 3 years in prison whose sentence was suspended, revived the controversy and made visible those other hidden cases, but with large subjectivities and misunderstandings of the law.

The Cámara del Crimen (Chamber of the Crime) in Argentina, took to the Court a man accused of transmitting hiv to his former partner in “malicious way”, in 2012. According to Argentine media, the women knew about her health situation, after a leakage of information about the diagnosis of the defendant through the medical staff of the hospital where he was being attended.

On the other hand, a more serious case, is that of a man sentenced to 10 years in prison after being denounced by his wife, who claims to have been “maliciously infected” by her former husband. The man is currently in a prison of Huaral two hours away from Lima.

In Peru, there is no law that directly penalizes the transmission of hiv; however, the Criminal Code establishes in one of its articles as criminal offenses the action of a person “who knowingly transmits the virus”.

UNAIDS issued a statement in October 23rd against the different cases of criminalization of transmission of hiv, indicating that “there are no data indicating that through the application of criminal law to the exposure or transmission of hiv, we can prevent the transmission of the virus”.

The case of the Argentine citizen will look for international bodies to reverse this failure at a national level and in the case of the Peruvian citizen, some organizations working in the hiv response are looking for legal resources that allow to reverse this situation.

The criminalization of hiv would bring down 34 years of work to prevent transmission and discrimination in the world. These measures stigmatize and discourage the hard work we have achieved in terms of the pursuit of healthcare.