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New research calls for better guidance about HIV transmission and the law

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  1. I’m sure we would ALL benefit from information arising from prosecutions following sexual transmission of HIV. At the moment one just notices the odd newspaper report of someone here and there having been sentenced for having unprotected sex, or having infected someone else, etc., but is there now an accepted policy or framework of judgement in the courts? If judges have generated such a framework, then we all need to know precisely what it is.

    1. ChrisMorley 6 Mar 2013, 5:13pm

      In England, Wales and Northern Ireland No-ONE can be prosecuted for simply having unprotected sex. Someone has to become infected and complain to the police.
      There is a theoretical possibility of being prosecuted for having unprotected sex where no-one in fact became infected, but ONLY if that person can be proved to have intended deliberately to infect that person. Note however that there has never been a conviction in England, Wales & NI for intending deliberately to infect someone.

      The law in Scotland is slightly different and it is possible there to be prosecuted for ‘culpable and reckless conduct’. There has been just one prosecution in Scotland where someone was convicted of exposing sexual partners to the risk of HIV infection, even though no transmission occurred. Recent guidance for Scottish Prosecutors limits the likelihood of this http://www.crownoffice.gov.uk/Publications/2012/05/Sexual-Transmission-or-Exposure-Infection-Prosecution-Policy

  2. ChrisMorley 6 Mar 2013, 4:47pm

    There is already a lot of information publicly available.

    - Aidsmap has a ‘Basics’ booklet “Transmission and the Law” http://www.aidsmap.com/Transmission-and-the-law/page/2258338/

    - Terrence Higgins Trust have a booklet online “How the law works” http://sigmaresearch.org.uk/files/how-the-law-works-terrence-higgins-trust.pdf

    - The Police have a set of investigation guidelines and the
    - Crown Prosecution Service have a set of prosecution guidelines, both available online from NAT here http://www.nat.org.uk/Our-thinking/Law-stigma-and-discrimination.aspx

    These are all based on the law and rulings by the Appeal court and years of community sector experience of supporting people being prosecuted.

    The study reported in this Pink News article is available from Sigma Research along with some other useful links.
    http://sigmaresearch.org.uk/projects/policy/project55/

    Hope this helps everyone.

    1. ChrisMorley 6 Mar 2013, 5:24pm

      Direct link to Terrence Higgins Trust website and their booklet “How the law works” and other information and advice
      http://www.tht.org.uk/myhiv/Telling-people/Law/How-the-law-works

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