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Canada: Lawyers are asking for current cases and past convictions of non-disclosure to be revisited in light of federal justice department report

Lawyers urge second look at HIV non–disclosure cases, convictions following report
December 12, 2017

Lawyers urge second look at HIV non-disclosure cases, convictions following report

Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 9:25 AM | By Terry Davidson

Lawyers are urging Crown attorneys to re-examine HIV non-disclosure cases past and present following a federal report calling for a curbing of criminal prosecutions in light of evolving science around risk of transmission.

Various Canadian criminal lawyers are saying current cases and past convictions of non-disclosure should be revisited by provincial prosecutors and their attorneys general against the backdrop of the new report, which lays out various scenarios which would involve a low — or even non-existent — possibility of transmission, even if a condom is not used.

The Criminal Justice System’s Response to Non-Disclosure of HIV warns of the overcriminalization of infected people who don’t disclose their condition but are on treatment, have a low viral load and pose a “negligible” risk to a non-infected sex partner.

It goes on to classify HIV as “first and foremost a public health issue.”

After the report’s release, Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi and Health Minister Eric Hoskins announced they would tell their Crowns to now limit non-disclosure prosecutions, particularly in cases where the infected person “is on antiretroviral therapy” and “where an individual has a supressed viral load for six months.”

Toronto criminal lawyer Michael Lacy, a partner with Brauti Thorning Zibarras and president of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, said the report should give “guidance” to Crown prosecutors.

“From a legal perspective, the report provides guidance that should eliminate criminal prosecution in those cases,” said Lacy. “Non-disclosure alone will not vitiate consent. Non-criminal responses are being recommended for the vast majority of cases involving public health authorities. At the same time, the report recognizes that there will be some, now hopefully limited, circumstances where the blunt instrument of the criminal law will be the appropriate way to respond to deliberately high-risk behaviour.”

Current standards used to prosecute non-disclosure cases need to catch up with evolving science, the report states.

“Sexual activity, regardless of condom use, with an HIV positive person who is taking HIV treatment as prescribed and has maintained a suppressed viral load … poses a negligible risk of transmission,” it reads.

Still, it stresses “criminal law applies to HIV-positive persons where they fail to disclose, or misrepresent, their HIV status prior to sexual activity that poses a realistic possibility of transmission.”

Criminal law, it states, should not apply to non-disclosing infected people as long as they’ve maintained a suppressed viral load of under 200 copies per millilitre of blood, and that “a person living with HIV who takes their treatment as prescribed is acting responsibly.”

Also, the law should not apply to those who are not on treatment but use condoms or to those who engage only in oral sex, “because the realistic possibility of transmission test is likely not met in these circumstances.”

Instances where risk increases, it states, includes “multiple acts of sexual intercourse,” particularly when condoms are not used, and oral sex involving ejaculation with an untreated infected partner.

It also states that “persons from marginalized backgrounds,” such as gay, Indigenous and black people, are disproportionately impacted.

Released Dec. 1, the federal paper could potentially trigger a new legal chapter in this issue.

In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled in R. v. Mabior [2012] SCC 47 that an infected person was not legally required to disclose their HIV-positive status to a sex partner if the former carried a low viral load and used a condom. But the SCC also left room for tweaking should laws need to adapt with scientific findings and shifting risk factors.

This report instructs all Crown attorneys that they need to examine the science underlying their individual prosecutions and decide whether or not it is still in the public interest to prosecute the cases, and whether or not there is still a reasonable prospect of conviction,” said Toronto lawyer Daniel Brown, head of Daniel Brown Law and author of Prosecuting and Defending Sexual Assault Offence Cases: A Practitioner’s Handbook. “Because the science has evolved so quickly and so much … our perceptions of what created a realistic possibility of transmission, even five years ago, has changed to where we’re at today, and we have to re-examine all of the cases in the court system to determine whether or not they still meet that standard.”

Provincial attorneys general should turn their eyes toward past convictions, he said.

“We can see that there was a substantial amount — not just those who were convicted after a trial — but many people who pled guilty perhaps to minimize the type of punishment that could come to them had they proceeded to a trial … and it is uncertain whether or not they pled guilty in the face of evidence that would no longer withstand scrutiny,” said Brown. “Were these cases where there was a realistic possibility of transmission, or were these cases where the law hadn’t caught up with the science?”

Alberta criminal lawyer Markham Silver also talked about revisiting non-disclosure convictions, using as an example the launching of a coroner’s inquiry into years of botched examinations by disgraced child pathologist Charles Smith.

“Realistically, the attorney general or the ministry of justice of any province can engage in reviews as they see fit,” said Silver. “When they had the situation … in Ontario with Smith … the Crown reviewed a whole rack of cases that dealt with his evidence and made determinations based on new information they had obviously received. … So it’s certainly open to the Crown to do as the Crown sees fit … in any particular provinces.”

Vancouver lawyer Troy Anderson, who recently acted in a non-disclosure case, agrees.

“If you’re looking at the science that says it is essentially no risk of HIV transmission if you are being treated and acting responsibly, then yes, I agree with that absolutely,” he said. “The prosecution services vary from province to province … [but] I think it is absolutely going to follow. I think there is will be a drop in the number of people being prosecuted for this.”

African Commission launches report providing framework for an African human rights-based response to HIV

News release: Human Rights organisations applaud African Commission’s launch of HIV report
December 11, 2017

News release: Human Rights organisations applaud African Commission’s launch of HIV report 


Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire –  On this International Human Rights Day, regional human rights organisations commend the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) on the adoption and launch of the summary version of the Report on the Law and Human Rights in the African Human Rights System: Key Challenges and Opportunities during ICASA 2017 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

The Report was developed by the Commission’s Committee on the Protection of the Rights of People Living with HIV and Those at Risk, Vulnerable to and Affected by HIV (HIV Committee) through a process of extensive consultation and engagement with experts and civil society over a period of two years. This report is the first of its kind. It provides a framework for an African human rights-based response to HIV. It illustrates what human rights law demands of States in the context of HIV, and describes both barriers and good practices for effective rights-based responses. As a body vested with the broad mandate for the protection and promotion of human rights in Africa, it is significant that the Commission is recognising HIV as an urgent and significant human rights concern.

In trying to push for an end to the HIV epidemic, some States in the region continue to propose and implement coercive and punitive solutions that violate human rights. While there have been great strides in new biomedical interventions in the HIV response, the Commission’s Report is a reminder that the end of HIV will not be achieved without human rights at the heart of the response.

“The Commission is a critical instrument for enforcing human rights in Africa. We commend the Commission for its leadership in ensuring that human rights are at the centre of the HIV response. The advancements in medicines for HIV and models of care cannot be of any use unless people’s human rights are respected and structural barriers to accessing HIV care and treatment are removed,” said Michaela Clayton, Director of the AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA).

“Through the Report, the Commission affirms the obligation of States to promote non-discrimination particularly, discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; and to address the systemic violations of the rights of key populations and marginalised groups in particular, the right to health which exacerbates vulnerability to HIV ,” says Humphrey Ndondo, Executive Director of the African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR).

“We hope that the Report will guide the Commission, States, and other stakeholders, in their decision making,” said Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh, Executive Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre. “We call on States to engage with this important Report, and take note of both the barriers and good practices described.”

International Human Rights Day, marked on 10 December,  must serve as a reminder of the importance of human rights when addressing HIV. It is a day where society should not only celebrate human rights, but keep in mind the long road ahead and the continuing human rights challenges that must be addressed if we are to end AIDS as a public health threat.


For more info:

Lesley Odendal, Communications Lead, AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (ARASA):, +27 72 960 8991

Annabel Raw, Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC):, +27 10 596 8538

See for more about the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and the report.

US: 42-year-old man arrested in Florida for alleged HIV non-disclosure

Man accused of failing to inform partner of HIV status
December 9, 2017

Man accused of failing to inform partner of HIV status

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) – A Tallahassee man has been arrested, accused of knowingly withholding his HIV positive status from a partner.

Eugene Oglesby Jr., 42, was booked into the Leon County Detention Center on Thursday for having sex without informing a partner of his HIV status.

According to a probable cause document, Oglesby met the victim through an advertisement on an Internet-based application. After the victim had consensual sex with Oglesby, a friend sent the victim a picture of a Craigslist announcement.

According to the probable cause report, the announcement contained a screenshot of Oglesby. The posting said that Oglesby was HIV positive and warned he did not inform his partners of his status.

The victim then contacted the Tallahassee Police Department. The victim told them Oglesby did not disclose his HIV status before or after they had sex and said they didn’t use protection.

The victim showed investigators a picture of the Craigslist announcement along with a screenshot of another Craigslist advertisement Oglesby posted seeking sexual partners.

In interview with investigators, Oglesby confirmed he was HIV positive and received his diagnosis in the 1990s. He was also able to identify the victim via a picture and said he believed they had sex.

Oglesby explained “he routinely engaged in casual sex with multiple partners he met via social media applications,” according to the court document, but did not inform partners of his HIV status unless he was asked directly.

He admitted that he knew he was required to inform them, but didn’t because he believed partners would change their mind and not have sex with him. Oglesby also told police he does not routinely use protection when engaging in casual sex.

At the end of the interview, investigators emphasized that he could be criminally charged for each sexual partner he failed to inform about his HIV status.

Though an investigation, officers confirmed Oglesby’s diagnosis and per Florida Statute 384.24 (2), a single charge was issued.

He turned himself in on Wednesday and has since bonded out of jail.

[Update] Czech Republic: Sentence reduced from 11.5 years to 9 years for Czech national deported from Thailand for alleged HIV transmission–softens–two–sentences–potential–spreading–hiv
December 7, 2017

Court softens two sentences for potential spreading of HIV

11 OCTOBER 2017

Prague, Oct 10 (CTK) – The Prague High Court softened on Tuesday the sentences for two suspects who might have knowingly spread HIV, a female prostitute and a man, whose sentences were lowered from seven to five years and from 11.5 to nine years, respectively.

Sabina Kapurova, 28, had sex, protected as well as unprotected, with almost 40 men, though she knew she was HIV-positive in 2012-2016.

She faced up to 12 years in prison for an attempted causing of a bodily harm and spread of a contagious disease.

Her defence said the unprotected sex she had was only oral, and she believed that the risk of infection is not that high in such cases.

The court of appeals took into account that she infected no one, confessed to her offence, and is a mother of two children.

Tuesday’s verdict is definitive.

In the other case, the court of appeals stated on Tuesday that the previous verdicts on Zdenek Pfeifer were too tough.

Pfeifer, though HIV-positive, had sex with dozens of men, and infected two, including a 14-year-old boy.

Pfeifer pleads innocent. He insists that he did not have sex with an underage boy and did inform his partners about his disease.

The court changed the previous verdict’s formulation that the motive of Pfeifer’s crime was condemnable.

“The accused man has a higher sexual appetence, which cannot be viewed as a condemnable motive,” judge Michal Hodousek said.

Pfeifer said his trial and conviction was an act of vengeance by the investigating police officer whose boyfriend left him, preferring Pfeifer as a partner.

He said the damaged persons are lying, but Hodousek said the court has no reason not to trust their testimony.

Pfeifer was sentenced for eight crimes including the harming of another’s health, spreading of a contagious disease, sexual abuse and production of child pornography.

He has to pay financial compensation to some men he harmed, including the body, now juvenile, whom Pfeifer has to pay more than one million crowns.

When Pfeifer was investigated, he left for Thailand. He denies having fled. The police sought him from January 2016. In 2017, he was arrested in Thailand and extradited to the Czech Republic where he ended in custody pending his trial result.

 Published in the Prague Monitor on Dec 7, 2017


Czech man sent to prison for spreading HIV knowingly

23 JUNE 2017

Usti nad Labem, North Bohemia, June 22 (CTK) – A regional court sentenced Czech Zdenek Pfeifer to 11.5 years in prison for spreading HIV knowingly today.

The verdict is not valid since he said he would appeal it.

The man was found guilty of causing bodily harm, spreading an infectious disease and other crimes.

Besides, Pfeifer was sentenced to cover the damage to some of his victims and to the health insurance company.

According to the indictment, Pfeifer learnt that he was HIV positive in September 2013. In the following two years, he had sexual contacts with some 20 men without telling them about the HIV virus. He infected two of them, one of whom was only 14 years then. He paid him for sex.

The age limit for legal sex is 15 years in the Czech Republic

Pfeifer denied having sex with the boy when he was under 15. He also claimed he had told all his sexual partners about being HIV-positive. However, the court did not believe him.

Pfeifer, who originally faced up to 12 years in prison, is to serve the sentence in a top security prison.

The court imposed a higher sentence on him than the state attorney proposed due to aggravating circumstances.

Three men with whom Pfeifer had sex got infected with HIV. However, in the third case it cannot be proved that it was Pfeifer who infected the man as he had sex with several other partners.

Some of Pfeifer’s sexual partners joined the court proceedings and demanded compensation. The youngest one, who is still juvenile, demanded 1.1 million crowns, while others tens of thousands of crowns each. The court approved the compensation.

Pfeifer must also cover more than 600,000 crowns to the General Health Insurance Company (VZP) for its care of the victims infected with HIV.

Pfeifer left for Thailand when the police were investigating him. He denied having fled. Detectives were searching for him from January 2016. A year later, he was detained on Phuket Island in Thailand. The local authorities deported him to the Czech Republic immediately.

Pfeifer has been in custody since January for fear that he might escape and continue to commit criminal activities.

Published in The Prague Daily Monitor on June 23, 2017


Czech charged with spreading HIV faces decade in jail

PRAGUE – A Czech man is facing up to 12 years in jail on charges of knowingly infecting nearly two dozen people with HIV, prosecutors said Wednesday, after flying him home from Thailand where he was arrested.

Zdenek Pfeifer, 49, was questioned after more than a year on the run over eight offences including spreading a contagious disease, said Vladimir Jan, a spokesman for the prosecutor’s office.

Czech police say he knew since 2013 that he had HIV but had sex with at least 23 men across the Czech Republic without informing them, infecting at least three including a 13-year-old boy.

Officers believe the number of victims could actually be substantially higher. It was not immediately clear whether he would also face statutory rape charges.

After being flown from Thailand guarded by five Czech police officers, Pfeifer was put in provisional detention in the northwestern town of Usti nad Labem.

“The accused could face five to 12 years in prison,” Jan said, quoted by the CTK news agency.

“The start date for his trial has not been set yet,” Usti nad Laben regional court spokeswoman Marcela Trejbalova told AFP.

Pfeifer first entered Thailand in June 2015 on a tourist visa which ran out two months later.

He was detained at his apartment on the resort island of Phuket earlier this month after reports warning of his presence in the popular holiday nation went viral on Thai social media.

Nathathorn Prousoontorn of Thailand’s immigration police told reporters that no complaints had been filed in the Asian nation alleging that Pfeifer had knowingly infected anyone there.

Published in The Nation on Jan 24, 2017


‘HIV-spreader’ Czech deported

The Immigration Police Bureau (IPB) on Tuesday deported to his country of origin Zdenek Pfeifer, 50, a Czech national wanted by Interpol for allegedly spreading HIV to various sexual partners and sexually abusing a minor in his home country.

Mr Pfeifer was detained last Tuesday in Phuket and charged with overstaying his visa, which expired on Aug 4, 2015, said IPB chief Nathathorn Prousoontorn.

A local court ruled that the Czech man had to be deported.

Mr Pfeifer was also blacklisted and banned from re-entering Thailand, said Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn.

Although Mr Pfeifer has admitted he slept with several sexual partners while in Thailand, none of them had lodged a complaint with police seeking legal action against the man for spreading HIV, so no investigation has been carried out.

He told police he found his sexual partners at popular entertainment venues in Phuket, Krabi, Chiang Mai and Pattaya, said Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn.

The IPB Tuesday morning handed Mr Pfeifer over to six Czech officials sent to Thailand to arrange the deportation at the IPB’s request.

The IPB submitted the request to Czech authorities after Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon raised concerns over possible difficulties that might arise while escorting Mr Pfeifer, who is a heavily built man, on a long trip back to the Czech Republic, Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn said. The deportation had been delayed because there is no direct flights between Thailand and the Czech Republic. Some airlines providing connecting flights had refused to take the suspect citing safety concerns, said Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn.

The six Czech officials and Mr Pfeifer are believed to have left Suvarnabhumi airport Tuesday afternoon on a flight to Frankfurt where they were to change planes and travel onward to the Czech Republic.

Published in the Bangkok Post on January 25, 2017


Thailand: Czech man living with HIV arrested in Phuket for alleged HIV transmission

Police early Wednesday said they have arrested a Czech man suspected of spreading HIV after a tip by a Phuket resident.

Officers said Zdenek Pfeifer, 52, was apprehended in the South, although the initial manhunt for the man had been in the North.

Mr Pfeifer, under a red notice by Interpol, is wanted in the Czech Republic for sexual offences with minors, including intentional passing his HIV infection.

Police had earlier said Mr Pfeifer was believed to have passed his infection to “several” Thai male and female partners.

Khaosod newspaper reported early Wednesday they had picked up the suspect while on routine patrol in Phuket.

Police said that while investigating in the parking lot of the Tesco Lotus department store in Phuket town, a man resembling Mr Pfeifer’s wanted poster drove a motorcycle into the lot.

A policeman searching the area found the man inside the store. He called for backup, but found he had to “urgently use the restroom”, and the suspect fled when he was inside.

Officers found him again within hours at a house he had rented.


Police in the North are searching for a Czech man, an over-stayer believed to be infected with HIV and wanted for sexual offences against minors in his own country.

The Royal Thai Police Office recently issued an urgent order asking Provincial Police Region 5 to track down Zdenek Pfeifer, 52, a national of the Czech Republic.

Mr Pfeifer, named in a red notice issued by Interpol, is said to be HIV-infected and to have passed the infection on to several male and female partners in Chiang Mai and nearby provinces, Thai media reported on Tuesday.

Pol Maj Gen Pongdet Prommichit, deputy chief of Provincial Police Region 5, on Tuesday called a meeting with police in eight northern provinces under his office and instructed them to immediately find and arrest the Czech suspect.

Pol Gen Wut Liptapanlop, deputy national police chief, had asked police across the country to track down Mr Pfeifer, suspect No 26 on the arrest warrant issued by the Czech court, said Pol Maj Gen Pongdet.

The man is regarded as dangerous and believed to have spread HIV to male and female Thai partners. He had committed sexual offences against minors in the Czech Republic before fleeing to Thailand in 2014, the deputy chief of Provincial Police Region 5 said.

According to police investigators, he has flown to several major tourist attractions in Thailand but there was no record of his having left the country.

Pol Maj Gen Pongdet said police believe the man is still here.

Originally published in the Bangkok Post on January 18, 2017

Canada: Alberta courts urged to follow Ontario example and stop prosecuting people for not disclosing their HIV status

Alberta should curb prosecutions for HIV nondisclosure: Advocate
December 6, 2017

Alberta should curb prosecutions for HIV non-disclosure

The Ontario government announced Crown attorneys will no longer prosecute certain cases of HIV-positive people who don’t disclose their status to their sexual partner.

Advocates are urging Alberta courts to stop prosecuting HIV-positive people who don’t tell their sexual partners their status, as long as they’ve been on medication for a certain length of time.

The call comes after a federal justice department report released Friday concluded that criminal law should generally not apply to people who are on HIV treatment, are not on treatment but use condoms, or engage only in oral sex.

The Ontario government also announced Friday, which was World AIDS Day, that Crown attorneys will no longer prosecute cases of HIV-positive people who don’t disclose their status to their sexual partner when the HIV-positive person has had a suppressed viral load for six months.

Viral load refers to the amount of HIV virus in a person’s blood.

“It’s a huge step forward,” said Brook Biggin, founder of the Edmonton Men’s Health Collective and regional manager of the Community Based Research Centre for Gay Men’s Health.

“Our hope is that Alberta will make a sensible decision as well, and look at the evidence and follow suit.”

The announcement was made in response to the report, which was titled “Criminal Justice System’s Response to Non-Disclosure of HIV” and backed by analysis from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The report found there is no realistic possibility of a person transmitting HIV if they have been on treatment and have an undetectable viral load.

Biggin said Canada is notorious for being “one of the worst countries” in terms of the number of recorded prosecutions for HIV non-disclosure.

The Canadian HIV Legal Network has recorded more than 200 prosecutions.

Because there is no specific law around non-disclosure in Canada, other laws are used to prosecute cases.

Offenders are often charged with aggravated sexual assault, with the idea being that a failure to disclose the condition invalidated consent, and that HIV could cause significant bodily harm.

Aside from often lengthy jail terms, those convicted have also faced mandatory designation as sex offenders.

“These are charges that ruin people’s lives,” Biggin said.

Veronica Jubinville, press secretary for Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley, said in an e-mailed statement that the ministry is taking the report into consideration.

“We are evaluating how this potential change could impact our courts and these types of cases in Alberta,” the statement reads.

Published in Metro News on Dec 04, 2017

Canada: Ontario decision to limit HIV criminalisation seen as a step forward but more still needs to be done

HIV–positive community says Ont. ruling is first step of long process
December 5, 2017

HIV-positive community says Ont. ruling is first step of long process

TORONTO — A move by the Ontario government to limit the prosecution of HIV-positive people who don’t disclose their status to sexual partners is being called a step in the right direction by those affected, but they say there’s much more progress to be made.

The government announced on Friday that people with low viral loads who don’t have a realistic chance of transmitting the disease can’t be charged with a crime if they don’t disclose their medical status to a sexual partner.

Previously, non-disclosure could lead to an aggravated sexual assault charge that landed convicted people on a sex offender list.

Ontario made the changes after studies showed that the risk of transmission is negligible if people are being treated for the disease or if appropriate precautions are taken.

Chad Clarke, 46, who served 39 months in prison for non-disclosure, said he cried when the announcement was made and said progress was being made to end what community advocates called the criminalization of HIV.

“I feel great because they’re listening to our voices,” said Clarke. “I look forward to see where we go … they just proved that you have them willing to sit down, and maybe Canada will sign on to this.”

However, advocates in the community say there are downsides to the ruling as well.

Jeff Potts, managing director of the support and advocacy group Canadian Positive People Network, said that decriminalizing only people with low viral loads means the community will be divided between people who are fortunate enough to get the medical treatment they need, and marginalized people who are not.

“At the end of the day, laws that criminalize people living with HIV for any reason, unless it can be proven there was intentional harm, are unjust,” said Potts, who has been HIV-positive for three decades.

“They don’t make sense, they don’t keep up with the science, it does nothing more than perpetuate stigma and further marginalize people who live with HIV.”

Potts said that some people will see this as a wrong step because of that division, but acknowledged that it’s important that the government has shown it understands there’s a conversation that needs to happen.

The government said Sunday it had no comment about any plans to further limit prosecution of HIV-positive people for non-disclosure.

Potts and Clarke spoke of the stigma that came with being HIV-positive and said that the fear of prosecution was “unbearable.”

Clarke, who was originally sentenced to four years in prison, says his daughter still won’t let him speak to his grandson, and said he still isn’t on speaking terms with his parents. He used to feel at home in Toronto’s Church and Wellesley neighbourhood, where there is a strong LGBTQ community, but has since moved to a small rural community because the area brings back too many bad memories

“Knowing that I’m on a national sex registry that puts me on the same category as people that actually harm children or dismember bodies when they do a sexual thing doesn’t make me feel to good,” said Clarke.

While Clarke is also calling for further changes to non-disclosure rules, he said the HIV community has to be mindful of how they carry on the fight and that they must focus on educating Canadians.

“We need to use our voices properly, hold them accountable, and educate,” said Clarke. “If we don’t educate and show them the love of this community, they’re not going to hold that door open for us no more.”

Malawi: Police officers urged to stop criminalising sex-workers due to their HIV status

Malawi law enforcers urged to desist from criminalizing sex–workers over HIV/AIDS status
December 4, 2017

Malawi law enforcers urged to desist from criminalizing sex-workers over HIV/AIDS status

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-The Malawi Police Services’ (MPS) officers have been urged to desist from criminalizing sex-workers due to their HIV and AIDS status when they come to conflict with the law.

This reduce cases of defaulting the drug prolonged-life, ARVs when are on remand cell as they become uncooperative with the law-enforcers

The call will also enhance cordial relationship men in uniform they have with sex-worker as they harbor criminals when playing their trade.

In an exclusive interview with The Maravi Post in the sidelines of World AIDSDAY that falls on December 1st yearly, Priest Mpemba, Kanengo Police Model station HIV/AIDS Coordinator, said time was ripe for officers handle sex-workers in line with human rights principles.

Mpemba who is also DNA Forensic Investigator observed that some law-enforcers criminalize sex-workers during sweeping exercises due to their serial status.

The HIV/AIDS coordinator added that the laws of land do not criminalize sex-work but the act of being conflict with the constitution including robbery and violence among others.

On legalization of sex work in the country, the DNA Forensic Investigators said the matter was a policy issue which the county’s leadership must trade carefully regarding to how the society perceives sex workers.

With extensive sensitization the station is taking on HIV/AIDS, Mpemba expects a cordial relationship between the police and the public in ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the country.

On skills handling suspects living with HIV and AIDS, the coordinator said that the station expects fewer lawsuits.

“This year’s World AIDS DAY commemoration must focus as well on how sex-workers are being treated in the society. They are into that trade with various reasons but their rights must be respected as human beings. This is the reason the station using its own resources has been into intensive sensitization on the virus.

“Our officers should also treat suspects especially those living with the virus with dignity as human that they continue taking medication when are on remand. This will reduce drug defaulters and ease lawsuits the station receives,” says Mpemba.

Speaking Friday on World AIDS Day, at the Blantyre Youth Centre The Minister of Health and Population, Atupele Muluzi said that right to health is a fundamental human right, everybody has the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

This year’s commemoration was under the theme ‘Right to Health: Access to Quality HIV Prevention and Treatment Services”.

Before the function, the Minister opened Umodzi Family Centre at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital. The centre will help facilitate HIV testing and treatment, TB screaming and offer reproductive health services.

AIDS is no longer the high-profile public health menace it once was thanks to the discovery in 2011 that antiretroviral treatment can not only suppress HIV in the bloodstream and reduce the risk of spreading the virus, but also, some experts predict, eventually end the epidemic.

Published in the Maravi Post on Dec 3, 2017

Canada: HIV criminalisation is unacceptable states UNAIDS Director Michel Sidibé in Ottawa on World AIDS Day

VIH: la criminalisation est inacceptable, selon le directeur d’ONUSIDA
December 3, 2017

Mylène Crête, The Canadian Press 1 December 2017

OTTAWA – The Criminalisation of people with HIV is unacceptable and must stop, UNAIDS Director Michel Sidibé said during his visit to Ottawa on Friday for World AIDS Day.

He spoke these words about an hour before Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould sends a signal to the criminal justice system to adapt to scientific advances in the treatment of the disease.

People are hiding, said Mr Sidibé. People ultimately do not go to services and when people do not go to services, they continue to infect their partners.

“A person who does not disclose his HIV status and transmits HIV to his sexual partner can be subjected to criminal charges in Canada, whether of assault or sexual assault. The consent given is no longer valid because of this omission.

Over the last 20 years, 59 people have been charged. In the majority of cases, these were charges of aggravated sexual assault. In more than 75 percent of cases, these people were found guilty even though more than half had not transmitted the disease.

These statistics come from a report released Friday by the federal Department of Justice to examine the issue. He concludes that the evidence must include antiretroviral therapy and a person’s viral load.

For example, an HIV-positive people whose viral load is almost zero – 200 copies per millilitre of blood – who does not disclose their HIV status. should not be charged because they can not transmit HIV. It is the same scenario for those who use a condom or who just have oral sex.

Charges are relevant only in specific cases, such as when a partner is lying about his condition and intentionally transmitting the virus by adopting risky behaviors. On the heels of this report, Ontario announced on Friday that its prosecutors will no longer lay charges against people who have had a suppressed a viral load for six consecutive months and who do not disclose their condition to their sexual partners.

In Quebec, there is no time limit, but a team of 17 prosecutors is already ensuring that any charges filed meet the realistic transmission test of the Supreme Court in 2012 in Mabior. Under this criterion, a low viral load and the use of a condom do not entail the obligation for the HIV-positive person to disclose his condition.

In all, 27 people with HIV in Quebec were the subject of accusations since 1989, about one case per year.

Other provinces may choose to follow suit and issue their own guidelines. Minister Wilson-Raybould made a written declaration on Friday to work with her counterparts.

At the same time, the Liberal government announced $ 36.4 million to fund prevention and research activities on the disease.

UNAIDS Director, Michel Sidibé, was in Ottawa to launch his annual report with Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor and Minister for International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau.

In his report, he pointed out that global efforts to prevent HIV transmission were failing to raise the awareness of men.

On the African continent, only one-third of men are able to say whether they are HIV-positive. This contributes to the “infernal cycle” of transmission as older men infect young women, who in turn transmit the virus to other men, said Mr Sidibé.

Prevention must now take into account this “blind spot” By promoting safer sex practices among men and the importance of being tested for the disease.

Mr. Sidibé nevertheless praised prevention efforts around the world, pointing out that, for the first time, there are more people with the virus under treatment – 21 millions – than there are people with the disease.

Overall worldwide solidarity has really produced results, he concluded, results that no one would have imagined. (…) But I would like to conclude by saying that this is not the moment of complacency. This is the moment to redouble our efforts. This is the time to continue investing in this fight because we can end AIDS.

“Otherwise the epidemic could rebound and erase all the gains made since the onset of the disease in the 1980s.

Published in L’Actualité on Dec 1, 2017


VIH: la criminalisation est inacceptable, selon le directeur d’ONUSIDA

OTTAWA — La criminalisation des personnes atteintes du VIH est inacceptable et doit cesser, a affirmé le directeur d’ONUSIDA, Michel Sidibé, lors de son passage à Ottawa, vendredi, à l’occasion de la Journée mondiale du sida.

Il a prononcé ces paroles environ une heure avant que la ministre Jody Wilson-Raybould envoie un signal au système de justice pénale pour qu’il s’adapte aux avancées scientifiques dans le traitement de la maladie.

«Lorsqu’on punit, les gens se cachent, a constaté M. Sidibé. Les gens, en définitive, ne vont pas vers les services et quand les personnes ne vont pas vers les services, elles continuent à infecter leurs partenaires.»

Une personne qui ne divulgue pas sa séropositivité et qui transmet le VIH à son partenaire sexuel peut faire l’objet d’accusations criminelles au Canada, soit de voies de fait ou d’agression sexuelle. Le consentement donné ne tient plus en raison de cette omission.

Au cours des 20 dernières années, 59 personnes ont ainsi été accusées. Dans la majorité des cas, il s’agissait d’accusations d’agression sexuelle grave. Dans plus de 75 pour cent des cas, ces personnes ont été reconnues coupables même si plus de la moitié n’avaient pas transmis la maladie.

Ces statistiques proviennent d’un rapport publié vendredi par le ministère fédéral de la Justice pour examiner la question. Il conclut que la preuve doit inclure la prise d’un traitement antirétroviral et la charge virale d’une personne.

Par exemple, les personnes séropositives dont la charge virale est presque nulle — 200 copies par millilitres de sang — et qui ne divulguent pas leur état ne devraient pas être accusées puisqu’elles ne peuvent pas transmettre le VIH. Même scénario pour celles qui utilisent un condom ou qui se limitent à des relations sexuelles orales.

Des accusations sont pertinentes seulement dans certains cas précis, comme lorsqu’un partenaire ment sur sa condition et transmet intentionnellement le virus en adoptant des comportements à risque.

Dans la foulée de ce rapport, l’Ontario a annoncé vendredi que ses procureurs ne déposeront plus d’accusations envers les personnes qui ont une charge virale supprimée durant six mois consécutifs et qui ne dévoilent pas leur état à leurs partenaires sexuels.

Au Québec, il n’y a pas de limite de temps, mais une équipe de 17 procureurs s’assure déjà que toute accusation déposée respecte le critère de possibilité réaliste de transmission émis par la Cour suprême en 2012 dans l’arrêt Mabior. En vertu de ce critère, une charge virale faible et l’utilisation d’un condom n’entraînent pas l’obligation pour la personne séropositive de divulguer son état.

En tout, 27 personnes porteuses du VIH au Québec ont fait l’objet d’accusations depuis 1989, soit environ un cas par année.

D’autres provinces pourraient choisir d’emboîter le pas et émettre leurs propres lignes directrices. La ministre Wilson-Raybould s’est engagée vendredi dans une déclaration écrite à travailler avec ses homologues.

Au même moment, le gouvernement libéral annonçait 36,4 millions $ pour financer des activités de prévention et de recherche sur la maladie.

La prévention touche peu les hommes

Le directeur d’ONUSIDA, Michel Sidibé, était de passage à Ottawa pour le lancement de son rapport annuel en compagnie de la ministre de la Santé, Ginette Petitpas Taylor, et de la ministre du Développement international, Marie-Claude Bibeau.

Dans ce rapport, il souligne que les efforts mondiaux pour prévenir la transmission du VIH échouent à sensibiliser les hommes.

Sur le continent africain, seulement un tiers des hommes sont capables de dire s’ils sont séropositifs. Cela contribue au «cycle infernal» de la transmission puisque des hommes plus âgés infectent de jeunes femmes, qui à leur tour transmettent le virus à d’autres hommes, a expliqué M. Sidibé.

La prévention doit maintenant tenir compte de cet «angle mort» en faisant la promotion de pratiques sexuelles sûres auprès des hommes et de l’importance d’être testé pour la maladie.

M. Sidibé a tout de même salué les efforts de prévention partout sur la planète en soulignant que, pour la première fois, davantage de personnes porteuses du virus sont sous traitement — 21 millions — qu’il y a de personnes atteintes.

«Ensemble, la solidarité globale a vraiment produit des résultats, a-t-il conclu. Des résultats que personne n’aurait imaginés. (…) Mais je voudrais conclure en disant que ce n’est pas le moment de la complaisance. C’est le moment de redoubler nos efforts. C’est le moment de continuer à investir dans cette lutte parce que nous pouvons mettre fin au sida.»

Sans quoi l’épidémie pourrait connaître un rebond et effacer tous les acquis faits depuis l’apparition de la maladie dans les années 1980.

Russia: Man and woman sentenced to 2.5 years each for allegedly transmitting HIV to their new partners

Ульяновец заразил 17–летнюю девушку ВИЧ–инфекцией, полученной от бывшей жены
December 3, 2017

Google translation – For original article in Russia please scroll down.

Former HIV-positive partners intentionally infected their new partners – an adult male and a minor girl. The Ex-partners were convicted and forced to pay moral compensation to the victims.

Alexey and Elena (names changed) lived together in the Tsilninsky district, but broke up. Both were ill with HIV.

– The story is very confusing and it is difficult to determine which of the former partners infected the other. But, judging by the established facts, the woman nevertheless was the first to learn about her illness, “said Vasyl Zima, a senior assistant to the regional prosecutor.

Elena was diagnosed in 2015 during her pregnancy. At the beginning of this year, after parting with her husband, she met another man – Ivan. Knowing about her illness, she slept with him from January to May and also infected him.

Alexei, having gone out with Elena, met a 17-year-old girl and was with her from March to May, entering into an intimate relationship. He learned about his illness in the winter, but did not tell her about it.

She learned about the diagnosis of her boyfriend from Ivan. He came to Alexei to figure out who had contracted the illness first – him or Elena but found him with a girl and told her everything.

As a result, Elena and Alexey were facing criminal liability.

“The accused stated that they did not know about their illness, although the doctors informed them, and they were registered,” Vasily Zima told.

For deliberate HIV infection, the court sentenced the woman to 2.5 years of colony-settlement and ordered her to pay the victim half a million rubles. The punishment was postponed until her two children are 14 years old. According to the information available, Elena is now pregnant again – from Alexey.

The actions of the man were described by the court as “deliberately placing another person in danger of contracting HIV”, he was sentenced to 2.5 years of restriction of liberty and ordered to pay 300 thousand rubles (at the time of the verdict) to the girl (at the time of the verdict).

“This is a court decision, so to qualify the actions of the defendant, despite the fact that the girl is now more likely to establish the presence of HIV infection,” Winter commented.


Ульяновец заразил 17-летнюю девушку ВИЧ-инфекцией, полученной от бывшей жены

Бывшие сожители, больные ВИЧ, умышленно заразили новых партнеров – взрослого мужчину и несовершеннолетнюю девушку. Экс-супругов осудили и заставили выплатить потерпевшим моральную компенсацию.

Алексей и Елена (имена изменены) жили вместе в Цильнинском районе, но расстались. Оба болели ВИЧ-инфекцией.

– История очень запутанная и сложно определить, кто из бывших сожителей инфицировал другого. Но, судя по установленным фактам, женщина все же первой узнала о своем заболевании, – рассказал старший помощник прокурора области Василий Зима.

Елене поставили диагноз в 2015 году во время беременности. В начале этого года, после расставания с гражданским мужем, она встретила другого мужчину – Ивана. Зная о своей болезни, с января по май спала с ним и тоже инфицировала.

Алексей, разойдясь с Еленой, познакомился с 17-летней девушкой и встречался с ней с марта по май, вступая в интимную связь. О своей болезни он узнал еще зимой, но новой подруге о ней не говорил.

Она узнала о диагнозе ухажера от Ивана. Тот приезжал к Алексею разобраться, кто заразился первым – он или Елена, застал его с девушкой и все ей рассказал.

В итоге Елену и Алексея привлекли к уголовной ответственности.

– Обвиняемые заявляли, что не знали о своей болезни, хотя врачи ставили их в известность, и они давали подписку, – рассказал Василий Зима.

Женщину за умышленное заражение ВИЧ суд приговорил к 2,5 годам колонии-поселения и обязал выплатить потерпевшему полмиллиона рублей. Наказание отсрочили до наступления двумя ее детьми 14 лет. По имеющейся информации, Елена сейчас вновь беременна – от Алексея.

Действия же мужчины суд квалифицировал как “заведомое поставление другого лица в опасность заражения ВИЧ-инфекцией”, приговорил его к 2,5 годам ограничения свободы и обязал выплатить девушке (на момент приговора ей уже исполнилось 18 лет) 300 тысяч рублей.

– Это решение суда, так квалифицировать действия подсудимого, несмотря на то, что у девушки сейчас с большей долей вероятности установили наличие ВИЧ-инфекции, – прокомментировал Зима.


US: PJP Update – November 2017

PJP Update – Newsletter of the Positive Justice Project – November 2017
December 3, 2017

National Advocacy

CHLP Co-sponsors Webinar with National LGBTQ Task Force and Reframe Health and Justice on Newly Launched Resource, HIV Criminalization Beyond Non-Disclosure: Advocacy Toolkits on Intersections with Sex Work and Syringe Use

On November 15, CHLP, the National LGBTQ Task Force, and Reframe Health and Justice Consulting co-sponsored a webinar to introduce the new resource, HIV Criminalization Beyond Non-Disclosure: Advocacy Toolkits on Intersections with Sex Work and Syringe Use. The toolkits highlight the intersections between advocacy for HIV criminal law reform, decriminalization of sex work, and safe syringe access. Led by presenters Sasanka Jinadasa and Kate D’Adamo from Reframe Health and Justice, Meghan Maury from the Task Force, and CHLP’s Kate Boulton, the webinar introduced participants to these intersections and included a discussion of how advocates can use the toolkits most effectively. A recording of the webinar can be found here.

The toolkits were released in September, a joint project of CHLP and the Task Force, to help foster more intersectional advocacy for HIV criminal law reform. Designed for advocates working to end the disproportionate criminalization of people living with HIV, the toolkits are located on both CHLP’s website and the Task Force’s website.

To date, the toolkits have been endorsed by more than a dozen organizations, including Harm Reduction Coalition, Transgender Law Center, and the ESPLER Project. If your organization is interested in endorsing the toolkits, fill out this form or contact Kate Boulton, or Meghan Maury,

CHLP partners with Georgia Coalition to End HIV Criminalization, HIV Modernization Movement Indiana, and HIV Prevention Justice Alliance for Webinar on Sourcebook on HIV Criminal Law: State Perspectives, and Reform Strategy

On October 11, CHLP partnered with the Georgia Coalition to End HIV CriminalizationHIV Modernization Movement Indiana, and HIV Prevention Justice Alliance to present a webinar on CHLP’s newly released Sourcebook on State and Federal HIV Criminal Law and Practice and the most effective ways HIV criminal reform advocates can use the Sourcebook to inform and support their work.

The webinar also included a discussion of different pathways to reform HIV criminal laws, some of the advantages and disadvantages of these different options, and key factors to consider in deciding on a reform strategy.

Carrie Foote, Chair of HMM Indiana, and Sequoia Ayala, member of the Georgia Coalition to End HIV Criminalization, joined CHLP’s Kate Boulton to speak about modernization efforts in their states, including some of the different factors influencing a reform strategy. A recording of the webinar can be found here.

State Advocacy

State Advocacy Working Group Updates

ARKANSAS  On October 13, the Arkansas HIV Planning Group hosted a presentation by CHLP Staff Attorney Kate Boulton on HIV criminalization and the law in the state of Arkansas. The presentation included discussion of recent prosecutions in the state, as well as the advocacy landscape to reform these laws nationally. The audience included individuals from local AIDS service organizations, the Arkansas Department of Health, and a local law student. Those interested in getting more involved held an initial planning call on November 9 to begin discussions on how to build a movement for reform in the state.

If you are interested in learning more about HIV criminalization in Arkansas, please contact Kate Boulton ( 

CALIFORNIA On October 6, California Governor Jerry Brown signed historic legislation modernizing California’s HIV criminal laws. The bill was authored by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Asm. Todd Gloria (D-San Diego), and cosponsored by Equality California, the ACLU of California, APLA Health, Black AIDS Institute, Lambda Legal and Positive Women’s Network – USA.

SB 239 revises California law to treat transmission of HIV in the same way as intentional transmission of other serious communicable diseases. The modernized law also removes penalty enhancements for PLHIV in the sex trade—a crucial change in light of findings from the Williams Institute demonstrating that sex workers have borne the overwhelming brunt of HIV criminalization in California.

Click here for CHLP’s more detailed summary of the changes.

Californians for HIV Criminalization Reform is no longer holding regular meetings, but is focusing on community education and messaging around SB 239, as well as other HIV-related legislation and projects in the state of California.

If your organization is interested in supporting ongoing efforts by California advocates, please contact or 323-848-9801 for additional information.

FLORIDA On October 18, Senator René García (R-Hialeah) filed SB546, a bill that makes several significant revisions to Florida’s HIV criminal laws. HIV is now included with other sexually transmitted infections, and the statute requires proof of intent to transmit and actual transmission. The penalty for a violation of the revised law is a misdemeanor, rather than a felony, which was uniquely applicable for HIV exposure. A previous version of the bill died in the Health Policy Committee in May. The new bill, however, expands the scope of potential criminal activity to include oral sex, and leaves intact singular and extreme penalties for sex workers living with HIV (in comparison, California’s recently passed SB239 addresses such issues for sex workers). On November 15, an identical bill to SB546, HB719, was filed in the Florida House of Representatives by Rep. Nick Duran (D-Miami). For more on the details of the bill, read CHLP’s analysis here.

Meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month at 1:00pm (ET).

If you or your organization is interested in supporting HIV criminal reform efforts in Florida, please contact Kamaria Laffrey (

GEORGIA The Georgia Coalition to End HIV Criminalization held an in-person all-day convening on October 30. At the convening participants discussed the group’s internal structure and setting and agreeing on goals for 2018 and 2019. CHLP’s National Community Outreach Coordinator Arpita Appannagari traveled to Georgia to meet face-to-face with advocates and support the Coalition’s ongoing strategy and organizing.

On October 17, a Georgia House of Representatives study committee (created by HR 240) held a public hearing focused on HIV. The committee heard presentations from clinicians and public health officials, including information on why HIV criminal laws should be revisited. The hearing made national headlines, however, when Representative Betty Price suggested that quarantine may be a legally appropriate response to control PLHIV. Her statements were widely rebuked, and several members of the Georgia Coalition contributed to an op-ed that appeared in the The Hill.

Meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month at 4:00pm (ET)

If you are interested in joining the Georgia Coalition to End HIV Criminalization, please contact Emily Brown ( and visit the coalition’s website for additional information.

As noted above, HMM Indiana co-sponsored CHLP’s October webinar Sourcebook on HIV Criminal Law, State Perspectives, and Reform Strategy, and HMM Chair Carrie Foote presented on the utility of the Sourcebookfrom a state-based advocacy perspective.

HMM has also created a You Tube channel. To subscribe, click here. The Steering Committee will resume regular monthly meetings soon.

Next meeting is TBD.

If you are interested in information about HIV criminalization or participating, supporting or endorsing HMM-Indiana, visit the website or contact Carrie Foote at

The Louisiana Coalition on Criminalization and Health (LCCH) convened in October and November. The Coalition divided into four sub-committees to focus on the development of a detailed workplan for the next legislative session.

Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month at 11:00am (CT).

If you are interested in information about HIV criminalization or actively participating in LCCH, please contact Chip Eakins at

The weekend of October 27, several members of The Missouri HIV Justice Coalition members attended the forum “Taking our Seat at the Table” in St. Louis and spoke about HIV criminalization.

The Coalition convened in October and November to plan for state-wide training sessions and to identify potential stakeholders and allies within the legislature and public health community. Members of the coalition are also in discussions with several prospective bill sponsors about what advocates would like to see in a modernized law.

Meetings are held on the fourth Friday of the month at 1:00pm (CT) via conference call.

If you are interested in becoming an advocate with the Missouri HIV Justice Coalition, please contact Ashley Quinn at, and visit the coalition’s website for additional information.

Health Modernization Movement Ohio is working with Equality Ohio to plan a face-to-face convening for state advocates in February. Several members of the group are also meeting with a state legislator who served on the Criminal Justice Recodification Committee to discuss their goals in light of the final recommendations from the committee and why the current law needs to change.

The Coalition convened in September and November to focus on developing a strategic response the decision from the Ohio Supreme Court in State of Ohio v. Batista (see analysis in Criminal Case Updates below).

Meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month at 5:00pm (ET).

If you would like information on HIV Criminalization or are interested in becoming an advocate with the Ohio Health Modernization Movement, please contact Arpita Appannagari at

PJP Tennessee Working Group members continue to travel around state and engage in community education and advocacy. The group also convened October and November to refine a draft bill and to update their legislative strategy.

Meetings are held on the fourth Thursday of the month at 1:00pm (CT).

If you would like information on HIV criminalization or are interested in becoming an advocate with the PJP TN Working Group, please contact Arpita Appannagari at

Criminal Case Update

CHLP’s assistance in criminal cases includes counseling defendants and their families, providing legal and trial strategy support to criminal defense attorneys, identifying and assisting with preparation of medical and scientific experts, drafting sections of court submissions, and submitting friend-of-the-court briefs. CHLP currently is assisting in cases in New York, Ohio and Arkansas.

On October 26, the Ohio Supreme Court affirmed Orlando Batista’s conviction for felonious assault under R.C. 2903.11(B)(1), which makes it a serious crime for a person living with HIV to have sex without first disclosing their status to a sexual partner. The Ohio Supreme Court concluded that Ohio’s HIV felonious assault law regulates conduct, not speech, and therefore does not violate Batista’s rights under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Court also rejected Batista’s Equal Protection claim that the law unfairly discriminates against people living with HIV because it concluded that the statute bears a rational relationship to the legitimate government interest of “curbing HIV transmission to sexual partners who may not be aware of the risk.” A detailed analysis of the decision, the facts of the case, and CHLP’s and other organizations involvement, can be found here.

If you are aware of anyone charged in an HIV exposure or transmission case, please refer them to our website, and/or have them or their lawyer, contact CHLP for assistance at 212-430-6733 or

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