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Crime

Charges against 30 HIV+ men dropped by Czech Republic health officials

Meka Beresford November 20, 2016
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The Czech Republic has dropped charges held against 30 gay men living with HIV who were arrested in the process of an investigation by the Prague public health authority.

Health officials believed the men had been having unprotected sex with the knowledge that they were HIV positive, but authorities have dropped the charges against the men over lack of evidence.

The investigation was launched when it was reported that the men had visited sexual health clinics with symptoms of other sexually transmitted infections, leading officials to believe they had been having unprotected sex in the knowledge that they had HIV.

Matthew Hodson, Executive Director of NAM, said: “I’m delighted that these charges have been dropped. Criminalisation of HIV is intended to prevent infections. In reality, it does no such thing.”

It is a criminal offence to expose others to HIV if you are aware of your status in the Czech Republic.

The investigation, which began in February, was condemned by HIV activists, with many arguing that criminalising the act doesn’t prevent the virus from being spread.

Hodson added: “According to reports, most of the men have an undetectable viral load, which means that there is no real risk that they could transmit the virus.

“When we talk about HIV risk we need to consider how that has been transformed in the era of effective treatment. All of the evidence suggests that undetectable means un-infectious.

“HIV criminalisation doesn’t prevent new HIV infections. Rather it discourages testing, stigmatises people living with HIV and supports some in believing that that the law will somehow protect them from infection and, as a result, take fewer precautions.

“On a global level, we need to agitate for a rational and efficient response to this epidemic and leave these outdated, prejudicial and ineffective laws behind,” he added.

Related topics: Crime, Czech Republic, Czech Republic, Europe, HIV, Law, LGBT

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