Australia: HIV groups have mixed reaction to HIV transmission law amendment

Natassja Zielinski July 23, 2014
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Some of Australia’s leading HIV and AIDS bodies have displayed a mixed reaction to a plan to amend a Victoria law which criminalises the intentional transmission of HIV.

On Sunday, it was announced that the Victorian government will review and amend Section 19A of the Crimes Act – which criminalises the intentional transmission of HIV.

The Victorian AIDS Council (VAC) and Living Positive Victoria (LPV) jointly said that while they welcomed the move, they were concerned that there could be negative consequences to any changes made.

The VAC and LPV, along with organisations including New South Wales’ Kirby Institute and the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, called on the Victorian Government to clarify their aims for Section 19A and vow to repeal it entirely.

Simon Ruth, the VAC’s chief executive, said they were concerned “that section 19A could be converted into a general provision covering other infectious diseases” and that it “would be a step in the wrong direction”.

“While intentional transmission of an infectious disease is potentially a criminal act, there is no justification in law or science for enacting special criminal provisions to cover it,” said HIV Legal Working chair Paul Kidd.

Victoria’s health minister David Davis said on Sunday that the government is still discussing what exactly they would do with Section 19A, and that the proposals would “involve consultation with the community”.

Thanks to the Star Observer for providing coverage of AIDS 2014.

Related topics: AIDS, Australia, Australia, Gay, HIV, Victoria

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