Expert Consensus Statement on the Science of HIV in the Context of Criminal Law

Five-Year Impact Report: Bringing Science to Justice

In 2018, twenty leading HIV scientists published the ‘Expert Consensus Statement on the Science of HIV in the Context of Criminal Law’ (Expert Consensus Statement) to address the misuse of HIV science in punitive laws and prosecutions against people living with HIV for acts related to sexual activity, biting or spitting.

Building on initial scoping report published in 2020, the HIV Justice Network (HJN) undertook further research between April and July 2023 examining the impact of the Expert Consensus Statement in cases and advocacy in the five years since its publication.

This ‘Five-Year Impact Report: Bringing Science to Justice’ concludes that the Expert Consensus Statement remains relevant, accurate and extremely useful.

Although ending HIV criminalisation cannot rely on science alone, the statement can help limit unjust prosecutions while we work to end the HIV-related stigma, discrimination and structural inequalities that drive criminalisation.

Download the report in English

Download the report in French

Download the report in Russian

Download the report in Spanish

Watch HIV Justice Live! on the impact of the Expert Consensus Statement

About the statement

The Expert Consensus Statement was the result of a partnership comprising the International AIDS Society (IAS), International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC), the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) and the HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE (HJWW) coalition. The process involved undertaking detailed analysis of the best available scientific and medical research data on HIV transmission, treatment effectiveness and forensics.

The Expert Consensus Statement expressed consensus on three themes:

• the possibility of HIV transmission in a variety of individual acts;

• the harm of HIV infection;

• and the ability to scientifically prove HIV transmission.

More than 70 scientists from 46 countries endorsed the Statement prior to its publication in the Journal of the International AIDS Society (JIAS). The statement was launched at an AIDS 2018 press conference and generated global media coverage. It was immediately made available in French, Russian, and Spanish with subsequent translations into Czech, German, and Mandarin.