Eurasian Women’s AIDS Network releases new compendium on “Women’s Leadership on HIV Decriminalisation”

EWNA launches Women’s Leadership on Decriminalising HIV

The Eurasian Women’s AIDS Network (EWNA) has produced the compendium “Women’s Leadership on HIV Decriminalisation: Experiences of the EECA Region“. The compendium compiles the results of research conducted by the women’s community, examples of documented personal stories and court cases.

All of the collected materials demonstrate how criminalisation of HIV is a global problem and how it is linked to gender-based violence. Experts believe that criminalising laws do not protect women from acquiring HIV but only make them worse off in society.

Such laws make them more vulnerable to HIV-related violence and structural inequalities because

Breastfeeding can be used as a means of direct influence; women living with HIV in discordant couples do not escape harassment due to their status, despite the indeterminate burden and voluntary consent of the partner in the relationship, confidential medical information is often shared with law enforcement authorities.
HIV criminalisation in the EECA region is directly linked to other types of criminalisation (drug use and sex work), the combination of which exacerbates the problem of rights violations and violence against women living with HIV.

The compendium addresses the following issues and themes:

What harms does the criminalisation of HIV cause?
Why are women more vulnerable?
Findings from studies and comparative analysis of court sentences.
Documented cases of blackmail of women living with HIV
The role of the media in the criminalisation of women living with HIV (example of Tajikistan).
HIV and labour law (example from Uzbekistan).
Elimination of vertical transmission and decriminalisation of HIV.

The compendium is available in Russian. It can be downloaded here.

Translated with (free version)

ЖСС выпустила сборник «Женское лидерство в вопросах декриминализации ВИЧ»

Евразийская Женская сеть по СПИДу (ЕЖСС) подготовила сборник «Женское лидерство в вопросах декриминализации ВИЧ: опыт региона ВЕЦА». В сборнике собраны результаты исследований, проводимых женским сообществом, примеры задокументированных личных историй и судебных разбирательств.

Все собранные материалы демонстрируют, насколько глобальной проблемой является криминализация ВИЧ и как она связана с гендерным насилием. Экспертки считают, что криминализирующие законы не защищают от заражения ВИЧ, а только ухудшают положение женщин в обществе.

Подобные законы делают их более уязвимыми перед насилием и структурным неравенством в связи с ВИЧ, поскольку:

кормление грудью может использоваться как средство прямого влияния;
женщины с ВИЧ, живущие в дискордантных парах, не избавляются от преследования в связи со статусом, несмотря на неопределяемую нагрузку и добровольное согласие партнера на отношения;
конфиденциальная медицинская информация часто передается в правоохранительные органы.
Криминализация ВИЧ в регионе ВЕЦА напрямую связана с другими видами криминализации (наркозависимость и секс-работа), совокупность которых усугубляет проблему, связанную с нарушением прав и насилием в отношении женщин, живущих с ВИЧ.

В сборнике затронуты следующие вопросы и темы:

Какой вред приносит криминализация ВИЧ?
Почему женщины оказываются в более уязвимом положении?
Результаты исследований и сравнительный анализ судебных приговоров.
Задокументированные случаи шантажа женщин с ВИЧ.
Роль СМИ в криминализации женщин, живущих с ВИЧ (пример Таджикистана).
ВИЧ и трудовое право (пример Узбекистана).
Устранение вертикальной передачи и декриминализация ВИЧ.

Сборник оформлен на русском языке. Скачать его можно здесь.

Help us support you
by completing a short survey on e-Learning and e-Training

Please complete our short survey on e-Learning and e-Training by 11th February


You’ll have seen from our first HIV Justice Newsletter of the year that we are excited about various advocacy tools and resources we are working on this year, including our new e-Learning and e-Training platform, to allow for digital organising and advocacy to continue regardless of travel and in-person meeting limitations, making these resources more accessible to more people.

The platform will be used to continue to build and galvanise the global movement to end punitive laws and policies that impact people living with HIV in all their diversity, with a specific focus on the criminalisation of HIV non-disclosure, exposure and/or transmission (HIV criminalisation).

With its accessible online written and video resources, and different types of learning and training sessions, and content in English, French, Russian, and Spanish, the platform will engage a growing community of HIV justice activists and advocates. It will provide timely and accessible education and training that focuses on understanding the issues, to help achieve progressive change in legal and policy environments for people living with HIV at national, regional, and international levels.

To help us ensure we properly achieve these objectives, we want to hear from you – to understand what you would find most useful in an e-Learning platform, and to find out more about your experiences of using e-Learning. So, could you complete this short survey (10-15 minutes) by 11 February 2022.  We’d love to hear from you.

Visit to answer the survey (in English, French, Russian or Spanish) or scan the QR code below.

New Paper reviews recent studies examining the application of HIV-specific criminal laws in North America

Beyond criminalization: reconsidering HIV criminalization in an era of reform

This paper reviews recent studies examining the application of HIV-specific criminal laws in North America (particularly the United States and Canada). In the wake of the development of new biomedical prevention strategies, many states in the United States (US) have recently begun to reform or repeal their HIV-specific laws. These findings can help inform efforts to ‘modernize’ HIV laws (or, to revise in ways that reflect recent scientific advances in HIV treatment and prevention).

This review can be downloaded here.

2021 in review: more successes, more challenges, much more to do

This past year we’ve been challenged yet again due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As well as the impact on each of us, personally, the legal and policy decisions relating to its control – and their enforcement –  have significantly impacted people living with HIV who are already criminalised or otherwise marginalised, which we have been continuing to highlight in our HIV Justice Weekly newsletter.

And as COVID-19 continues to dominate not only policymaking and law enforcement activities, but also media headlines, it seems very likely that relying primarily on media reports to document unjust cases of HIV criminalisation underestimates how many people are affected.

This past year we documented 54 media reports of unjust HIV criminalisation cases in 20 countries. This compares to 91 cases in 25 countries last year, which was still fewer than reported in previous years.

Although this could be seen as a cause for celebration, I fear that the reason we are seeing fewer media reports is not because of fewer cases, but because the media is distracted by COVID-19 and just isn’t reporting on them. For example, we only recorded one media report of a horribly unjust case in Belarus in January 2021 but on World AIDS Day 2021 the official Telegram account of Investigative Committee of Belarus reported that there had actually been 34 HIV-related criminal cases in 2021.

After Belarus, the highest number of case reports came from Russia, where it was also reported that over the past five years, Russian courts have acquitted only one defendant under its problematic HIV-specific criminal law. The United States, Canada and France make up the rest of the top five. Alarmingly, women living with HIV were accused in 33% of all reported cases in 2021, up from 25% last year.

We will be providing a much more detailed analysis of laws and cases – and the remarkable advocacy successes and achievements – in the next edition of our Advancing HIV Justice progress report, covering January 2019 – December 2021, which we plan to publish by the end of the first quarter of next year.

Despite the impact of COVID-19 on our ability to organise – and a growing acceptance of punitive approaches to a public health issue – this year we’ve also seen some remarkable advocacy in the global movement to end HIV criminalisation, none more so than across the United States.

In March, both Georgia and Virginia modernised their HIV criminalisation laws and in June and July Nevada and Missouri did the same. And in July Illinois completely repealed its outdated and unjust HIV-specific criminal law, becoming only the second US state ever to do so.  In October, New Jersey’s Acting Attorney General issued science-informed prosecutorial guidance to limit the overly broad application of its HIV criminalisation law, and in December, on World AIDS Day, President Biden became the first-ever government leader to speak out against HIV criminalisation laws whilst in office. The year ended on a high with proposals to modernise HIV criminalisation laws in Florida and on a federal level.

The remarkable successes in the United States didn’t happen overnight – the movement to end HIV criminalisation has been nurtured – and increasingly better funded – for more than a decade. This is why our focus has turned to other parts of the world – notably Eastern Europe and Central Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean – where many challenges remain.

In May, a new parliamentary bill in Ukraine proposed expanding its already problematic HIV-specific criminal law with harsher sentences for transmitting all serious communicable diseases, and Uganda passed a new Sexual Offences Bill with horrendous implications for people living with HIV, gay men and sex workers. Fortunately, neither have been enacted into law, yet.

We also saw advocacy successes in these regions, too.  In Uganda, after five years of waiting, the Constitutional Court of Uganda has finally begun to hear a landmark case challenging the overly broad and draconian provisions of its HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act. In Mexico, the ‘danger of contagion’ law used by many Mexican states to prosecute people living with HIV was found to be unconstitutional by a court in the federal district of Mexico City, with proposals for its full repeal presented in November. Also in November, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) recommended the removal of Kyrgyzstan’s HIV-specific criminal law, thanks to a powerful shadow report by our HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE partners, the Eurasian Women’s Network on AIDS.

There is still so much more to do, however.  That’s why, for example, we produced a brand-new section of our HIV Justice Toolkit specifically to help defend people living with HIV who are prosecuted for breastfeeding, chest feeding or comfort nursing, and why HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE launched a briefing paper and video in October to help advocates understand the complexities – and consequences – of molecular HIV surveillance.

Despite these successes, as well as the many milestones the HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE movement has achieved since its launch in 2016, we will not rest until everyone living with HIV in all their diversity is treated equally, fairly, and justly by all actors of the criminal legal and public health systems.

Belarus: 34 prosecutions for HIV infection in 2021

Translated with – For original article in Russian, please scroll down.

34 criminal cases related to the human immunodeficiency virus were opened in 2021. This was reported by the Investigative Committee.

December 1 is the International AIDS Day. The day was established to raise awareness about the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. This date annually urges the entire world community not only to remember this as yet incurable disease, but also to be tolerant to those who are already carriers of the disease.

“Deliberately transmitting the disease is punishable under criminal law,” the agency said.

СК: в 2021 году возбуждено 34 уголовных дела по факту заражения ВИЧ

1 декабря, Минск /Корр. БЕЛТА/. В 2021 году возбуждено 34 уголовных дела по факту заражения вирусом иммунодефицита человека. Об этом БЕЛТА сообщили в Следственном комитете.

1 декабря отмечается Международный день борьбы со СПИДом. День учрежден с целью повышения осведомленности о синдроме приобретенного иммунодефицита. Эта дата ежегодно призывает всю мировую общественность не просто помнить об этой пока неизлечимой болезни, но и быть терпимыми к тем, кто уже является переносчиком этого заболевания.

“Умышленное заражение этим заболеванием преследуется в уголовно-правовом порядке”, – отметили в ведомстве.-0-


New Breastfeeding Defence Toolkit
launched at Beyond Blame 2021

Criminal prosecutions related to presumed HIV exposure via breastfeeding are all-too-often driven by stigma, misinformation, and the desire to protect a child from exaggerated risk.  People living with HIV require a vigorous defence based on principles of justice and human rights, good public policy, and accurate science.

Which is why this week we have launched the Breastfeeding Defence Toolkit as a new section of our HIV Justice Tookit.

The Breastfeeding Defence Toolkit provides materials to support lawyers and advocates supporting people living with HIV who face criminal charges or other punitive measures for breastfeeding, chestfeeding, or comfort nursing.

Although the Breastfeeding Defence Toolkit is currently only available in English, we are working on French, Russian and Spanish versions.  In addition, new resources will be added to the Toolkit as they become available.

The Breastfeeding Defence Toolkit was launched at Beyond Blame: Challenging Criminalisation for HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE on Tuesday 30 November 2021.  Watch the 10 minute segment below.


In 1986, it was discovered that HIV could be transmitted from a woman to a child through 
breastfeeding. Since this time, women living with HIV have borne the weight of the 
responsibility of preventing HIV transmission to their offspring. This responsibility has been 
used to justify surveillance, judgement, and limitations on autonomy and decision-making for 
women living with HIV.

Some women living with HIV have faced criminal prosecution for exposing fetuses and/or 
infants to a risk of HIV infection, especially through breastfeeding. These numbers may be small 
compared to the number who have faced criminal charges with respect to HIV non-disclosure, 
exposure and transmission in sexual contexts, but cases are increasing.

The HIV Justice Network 
is aware of at least 13 such cases in the past decade, with a growing number of criminal prosecutions taking place 
across the African continent as well as in Russia since 2018. We are also aware of several cases 
that took place in North America and Europe between 2005 – 2012.

These cases include charges laid against mothers, community members and domestic 
employees. Various criminal charges have been used in these cases, including failure to provide 
the necessaries of life, grievous bodily harm, unlawfully doing an act likely to spread a 
dangerous disease, and deliberately infecting another with HIV.

In addition to these criminal 
cases, many more women have experienced punitive responses from service providers, public 
health, and child welfare authorities.

Criminal prosecutions and other punitive responses to breastfeeding by women living with HIV 
pose significant harms to both the accused and the child. HIV criminalisation threatens the 
health and well-being of people living with HIV and jeopardises the goals of ending HIV 
discrimination and, ultimately, the epidemic. Not only do punitive laws targeting people living with HIV lack a scientific evidence base they also serve as barriers to HIV prevention, treatment, 
and care, and perpetuate stigma.

Infant feeding choices should not be a criminal issue. Parents should be provided with full 
information to make the best choices for their families and infant feeding should be managed 
through clinical support. Science supports that the best outcomes for a mother and a child 
result from proper medical care, access to treatment and openness. Criminalising maternal and 
child health issues generally risks worse outcomes for the infant.

Brazil: Litigation clinic and HIV organisation request leave to submit an amicus brief in discrimination case against the airforce

Armed Forces accused of discriminating against people with HIV

Automated translation via Deepl. For original article in Portuguese, please scroll down. 

FGV Law Group and NGO want to act in a lawsuit against the Air Force

A group from FGV Direito and another that campaigns on behalf of people living with HIV requested on Tuesday (30) from the TRF (Federal Regional Court) of the 2nd region, in Rio de Janeiro, their permission to file an amicus curiae (friend of the court) in a lawsuit against the Armed Forces for discrimination against people living with HIV.

Although Brazilian law condemns any form of prejudice and discrimination against HIV-positive people, the Armed Forces require an HIV test and, if the result is positive, prevents the person from entering the military.

However, there is ample scientific evidence showing that people with HIV may not develop the disease if they are under treatment. Many even have undetectable viral loads for years, which means that they do not transmit the virus.

The lawsuit that motivated the action of the two entities is in progress since 2018 and is brought by a business administrator from Rio de Janeiro who was barred from entry-level competition in the Air Force for being a person living with HIV. “Unfit for purpose”, says the medical report of the Air Force.

Seropositive for 11 years, he has always worked in administrative activities, has proof of full physical and mental health and is being treated with antiretroviral drugs, in addition to clinical follow-up.

Through an injunction, Silva joined the Air Force, but six months later, in the first internal competition, he had his promotion to second lieutenant annulled and was excluded from the Armed Forces. He appealed the decision in the TRF, and the appeal has not yet been judged.

It was almost an ambush. It is evident that the same thing would happen [a positive result for HIV],” says lawyer Eloisa Machado, professor of the Strategic Litigation of Human Rights Clinic at FGV Law in São Paulo, who filed the amicus curiae request together with GIV (Life Incentive Group).

The friend of the court is a process in Brazilian law that guarantees the participation of public agencies and civil society entities in judicial proceedings. The action is based on manifestations on controversial issues or those requiring technical knowledge for analysis. The FGV students studied the suit for six months, according to Machado.

For the lawyer, competition edicts and internal military norms attribute to people living with HIV a definitive incapacity, preventing not only entry into the Armed Forces but also eventual promotions of people who contracted the virus after being admitted.

“Our attempt [as amicus curiae] is perhaps to reverse this latest area of formal discrimination against people living with HIV,” Machado says.

According to her, a revision of the statute in the Armed Forces is necessary, since a positive diagnosis of the HIV virus solely does not mean inability to exercise any functions.

The mathematics professor from USP Jorge Beloqui, from GIV, reinforces that, without this updating of the rules, more cases of discrimination, without any scientific basis, will continue to occur.

For him, the consequences of discrimination at work on a person living with HIV go beyond an isolated case and end up affecting all HIV-positive people.

Although criticised, this attitude from the Air Force is not illegal. In previous positions on the subject, the technical advisory of the Ministry of Defense reported that, by law, the Armed Forces have “autonomy to decide not to accept candidates who present some kind of debilitation that prevents them from exercising their positions”.

Private companies and other public institutions, on the other hand, are prohibited from asking for an HIV test for job applicants. Law No. 11,199/2002 considers that it is discrimination towards people with HIV and people with AIDS to require an HIV test in competition applications or selection to enter public and private service.

The Ministry of Defence’s press office had not replied regarding the publication of this text.

Forças Armadas são acusadas de discriminar pessoas com HIV

Grupo da FGV Direito e ONG querem atuar em processo contra a Aeronáutica

Um grupo da FGV Direito e outro que milita a favor das pessoas vivendo com HIV-Aids solicitaram nesta terça (30) ao TRF (Tribunal Regional Federal) da 2ª região, do Rio de Janeiro, sua permissão como amicus curiae (amigo da corte) em ação movida contra as Forças Armadas por discriminação de pessoas vivendo com HIV.

Embora a legislação brasileira condene qualquer forma de preconceito e discriminação aos portadores de HIV, as Forças Armadas exigem o exame que detecta o vírus e, diante de um resultado positivo, impede que a pessoa ingresse na carreira militar.

Ocorre que há fartas evidências científicas demonstrando que as pessoas com HIV podem não desenvolver a doença se estiverem sob tratamento. Muitas, inclusive, estão com cargas virais indetectáveis há anos, o que significa que também não transmitem o vírus.

O processo que motivou a atuação das duas entidades tramita desde 2018 e é movido por um administrador de empresas do Rio de Janeiro que foi barrado em concurso de ingresso na Aeronáutica por ser pessoa vivendo com HIV. “Incapaz para o fim que se destina”, diz o laudo médico da Aeronáutica.

Soropositivo há 11 anos, ele sempre trabalhou em atividades administrativas, tem comprovação de plena saúde física e mental e está em tratamento com antirretrovirais, além de acompanhamento clínico.

Por meio de uma liminar, Silva chegou a ingressar na Aeronáutica, mas, seis meses depois, no primeiro concurso interno, ele teve sua promoção para segundo tenente anulada e foi excluído das Forças Armadas. Ele recorreu da decisão no TRF, e o recurso ainda não foi julgado.

Foi quase uma emboscada. É evidente que ia dar a mesma coisa [resultado positivo para o HIV]”, diz a advogada Eloísa Machado, professora da Clínica de Litigância Estratégica de Direitos Humanos da FGV Direito de São Paulo, que ingressou com o pedido de amicus curiae junto com o GIV (Grupo de Incentivo à Vida).

O amigo da corte é uma figura do direito brasileiro que garante a participação de órgãos públicos e entidades da sociedade civil em processos judiciais. A atuação se dá com base em manifestações sobre assuntos polêmicos ou que necessitem de conhecimento técnico para análise. Os alunos da FGV estudaram a ação durante seis meses, segundo Machado.

Para a advogada, os editais de concurso e as normas internas militares imputam às pessoas vivendo com HIV uma incapacidade definitiva, impedindo não só o ingresso nas Forças Armadas como eventuais promoções de pessoas que contraíram o vírus depois de serem admitidas.

“Nossa tentativa [como amicus curiae] é talvez reverter esse último espaço de discriminação formal contra pessoas convivendo com HIV”, afirma Machado.

Segundo ela, é necessária uma revisão no estatuto nas Forças Armadas, já que apenas o diagnóstico positivo do vírus HIV não significa incapacidade para exercício de quaisquer funções.

O professor de matemática da USP Jorge Beloqui, do GIV, reforça que, sem essa atualização das normas, mais casos de discriminação, sem nenhum embasamento científico, vão continuar ocorrendo.

Para ele, as consequências da discriminação no trabalho sobre uma pessoa vivendo com HIV vão além de um caso isolado e acabam atingindo todos os soropositivos.

Embora criticada, essa atitude da Aeronáutica não é proibida. Em posicionamentos anteriores sobre o assunto, a assessoria técnica do Ministério da Defesa informou que, por lei, as Forças Armadas têm “autonomia para decidir não aceitar candidatos que apresentarem algum tipo de debilitação que os impeça de exercer seus cargos”.

Já as empresas privadas e outras instituições públicas estão proibidas de pedir o exame de HIV aos aspirantes a vagas de trabalho. A lei nº 11.199/2002 considera discriminação aos portadores do HIV e das pessoas com Aids a exigência de exames de detecção do vírus em inscrições de concurso ou seleção para ingressar no serviço público e privado.

Procurada, a assessoria de imprensa do Ministério da Defesa não se manifestou até a publicação deste texto.


UPDATE: Speakers now confirmed for #BeyondBlame2021!


Beyond Blame, our flagship meeting for activists, human rights defenders, criminal legal system and public health system actors, healthcare professionals, researchers, and anyone else working to end HIV criminalisation, is returning for a special eve-of-World AIDS Day edition.

Following the success of last year’s Beyond Blame @ HIV2020, which was reimagined as a two-hour web show, the HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE coalition is delighted to announce that Beyond Blame: Challenging Criminalisation for HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE will take place on Tuesday, November 30, 2021, from 6-8 PM Central European Time. Check this link to find the event in your local time.


Beyond Blame is a unique opportunity to learn why HIV criminalisation matters, as well as hear about the wide range of initiatives and strategies that have been used by activists, lawyers, networks, and organisations around the world to work towards ending the inappropriate use of criminal law to regulate and punish people living with HIV.

We will be highlighting some of the successes and challenges of the global movement to end HIV criminalisation over the past year, including work on ending the criminalisation of women living with HIV for breastfeeding, exploring whether scientific advances, such as the prevention benefit of treatment (U=U) and Molecular HIV Surveillance, help or hinder our movement and much, much more.

Beyond Blame will take place in English, with interpretation available in French, Russian and Spanish.

Follow the conversation on Twitter via #BeyondBlame2021 #HIVJustice


Austria: Austria’s AIDS Support organisations call for the destigmatisation of HIV positive people in criminal law

HIV-positive people are discriminated against in court

Translated with (free version) – For original article in German, please scroll down

AIDShilfen: HIV-positive people are discriminated against in court
Criminal law should follow scientific findings. HIV infections should no longer be prosecuted.

Vienna – Austria’s AIDS support organisations are protesting against discrimination in court and demand “the destigmatisation of HIV-positive people in criminal law”. People with HIV who regularly take their therapy and whose viral load is below the detectability limit “do not pose a threat”, it was stressed. “It is high time that criminal law follows the scientific findings,” warned Andrea Brunner, Executive Director of Aidshilfe Wien.

In the past, HIV-positive people have been held criminally responsible despite effective therapy and even though no transmission had taken place. The potential risk of infection was assumed, according to the AIDS support organisations. In 2020, the Higher Regional Court (OLG) of Graz overturned such a first-instance decision on the grounds that successful HIV therapy precluded criminal liability.

Adequate therapy as prevention
Sections 178 and 179 of the Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch, StGB) “or the previous case law on the subject”, however, continue to expose people with HIV to discrimination and stigmatisation. Since it has been proven that regular and effective therapy prevents the HIV virus from being passed on, those affected would not be committing a “dangerous act” during sexual intercourse, argues Aidshilfe. Since there is no risk of transmission, the facts of section 178 (“risk of spreading”) are not fulfilled. However, the fear of criminal consequences could contribute to a decrease in the willingness to test among those affected.

The Austrian Aids Support Services demand that an HIV infection should no longer be covered by the punishability of section 178f. As long as this remains the case, “the current state of medical research must be taken into account in the decision by a court. This means that both safe sex and the consistent pursuit of drug therapy must be grounds for exclusion from a trial.”

Broad support from parties
The demands meet with broad support among the parties represented in the National Council. The health spokespersons of the SPÖ, FPÖ do so unreservedly. NEOS (Neues Österreich) health spokesperson Fiona Fiedler is “basically in favour of reducing discrimination and promoting education”, but courts already take the state of science into account – “this demand is therefore obsolete”.

The press office of the ÖVP parliamentary club refers to the Ministry of Justice. There, the demands of the Aids organisations are currently being examined, it says on request. According to the press office of his club, the Green health spokesman Ralph Schallmeiner has already made an appointment with Andrea Brunner, managing director of Aids Hilfe Wien, to discuss possible improvements. (APA, red, 25.10.2021)

HIV-Positive werden vor Gericht diskriminiert
Das Strafrecht solle wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnissen folgen. HIV-Infektionen sollen nicht mehr strafrechtlich verfolgt werden.

Wien – Die Aidshilfen Österreichs protestieren gegen Diskriminierung vor Gericht und fordern “die Entstigmatisierung von HIV-Positiven im Strafrecht”. Menschen mit HIV, die regelmäßig ihre Therapie einnehmen und deren Virenlast unter der Nachweisbarkeitsgrenze liegt, “stellen keine Gefährdung dar”, wurde betont. “Es ist höchst an der Zeit, dass das Strafrecht den wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnissen folgt”, mahnte Andrea Brunner, Geschäftsführerin der Aidshilfe Wien.

In der Vergangenheit seien HIV-positive Menschen trotz wirksamer Therapie und obwohl gar keine Übertragung stattgefunden habe, strafrechtlich zur Verantwortung gezogen worden. Es sei das Gefährdungspotenzial für eine Ansteckung unterstellt worden, so die Aidshilfen. 2020 hob das Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Graz eine solche erstinstanzliche Entscheidung mit der Begründung auf, dass eine erfolgreiche HIV-Therapie eine Strafbarkeit ausschließe.

Adäquate Therapie als Prävention
Die Paragrafen 178 und 179 im Strafgesetzbuch (StGB) “beziehungsweise die bisherige Rechtsprechung dazu” setze Menschen mit HIV aber weiterhin Diskriminierung und Stigmatisierung aus. Da erwiesen ist, dass eine regelmäßige und wirksame Therapie eine Weitergabe des HI-Virus unterbindet, würden Betroffene beim Geschlechtsverkehr jedoch keine “gefährdende Handlung” setzen, argumentiert die Aidshilfe. Da kein Risiko für eine Übertragung besteht, sei der Tatbestand des Paragrafen 178 (“Gefahr der Verbreitung”) nicht erfüllt. Die Angst vor strafrechtlichen Konsequenzen könne jedoch dazu beitragen, dass die Testbereitschaft bei Betroffenen sinkt.

Die Aidshilfen Österreichs fordern, dass eine HIV-Infektion nicht mehr von der Strafbarkeit von Paragraf 178f erfasst sein soll. Solange dies der Fall bleibt, “muss bei der Entscheidung durch ein Gericht der aktuelle Stand der medizinischen Forschung beachtet werden. Das bedeutet, dass sowohl Safer Sex als auch das konsequente Verfolgen einer medikamentösen Therapie als Ausschlussgrund für ein Verfahren gelten müssen.”

Breite Unterstützung von Parteien
Bei den im Nationalrat vertretenen Parteien stoßen die Forderungen großteils auf Unterstützung. Die Gesundheitssprecher von SPÖ, FPÖ tun dies vorbehaltlos. Neos-Gesundheitssprecherin Fiona Fiedler ist “grundsätzlich dafür, Diskriminierung abzubauen und Aufklärung voranzutreiben”, Gerichte würden den Stand der Wissenschaft aber schon jetzt berücksichtigen – “diese Forderung ist daher obsolet.”

Die Pressestelle des ÖVP-Parlamentsklubs verweist auf das Justizministerium. Dort werden die Forderungen der Aidshilfen aktuell geprüft, heißt es auf Nachfrage. Der grüne Gesundheitssprecher Ralph Schallmeiner hat, laut Pressestelle seines Klubs, bereits einen Termin mit Andrea Brunner, Geschäftsführerin der Aids Hilfe Wien, vereinbart, um etwaige Verbesserungen zu diskutieren. (APA, red, 25.10.2021)


Brazil: Instead of criminalising people living with HIV, strengthening health services would promote prevention and care

Living with HIV is not a crime. People living with the AIDS virus should have peace of mind like everyone else.

Google translation – For the original article in Portuguese, please scroll down.

By Esper Kallás

A few years ago, I was consulted about the case of a person who was allegedly trying to transmit HIV sexually. This happened because it was discovered that he was living with the virus after medical pre­scrip­tions were found in his drawer, which contained the medications for the treatment cocktail. The del­egate responsible for investigating the complaint, until then, tended to accept the opening of the process.

Criminalizing someone for being infected with HIV is still a serious problem in several countries around the world, including Brazil. At least 92 countries have specific or sufficiently vague laws that allow a person living with the virus to be held liable for having sex. The situation becomes even more serious as the ma­jority of people living with HIV belong to more socially vulnerable population groups.

In consensual sex, does a person living with HIV necessarily need to disclose their HIV status to their part­ner? The answer is “no”. In support of this position, here are some considerations.

Regarding the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, having a consensual sexual relationship brings responsibilities to everyone who takes part in it.

Treatment with the antiretroviral cocktail is highly effective in controlling the spread of HIV, allowing peo­ple to keep HIV undetectable in their blood. As a result, they stop transmitting HIV sexually. In several, extensive and repeated studies, the results are striking: persons who are part of couples with a sexual partner who lives with HIV and has an undetectable virus did not become infected, even with sexual rela­tions without protection of a male or female condom. As a result, a person who is living with HIV and is unde­tectable is a safer sexual partner in unprotected sex than someone who does not know if they have the virus. Hence the concept of “undetectable = untransmissible”.

The recommendation is shared by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), which also suggests that countries respect the confidentiality of people living with the virus, helping to combat prej­u­dice and favoring access to health services. Continuing to criminalize people just because they are living with HIV takes the opposite path.

Comparing HIV to other agents of sexually transmitted infections, it is noted that these can also lead to potentially serious consequences. For example, syphilis, in its tertiary form, can compromise organs and systems, including neurological functions. Gonorrhea can lead to infertility. HPV can lead to genital cancer, especially in women. In these circumstances, there is not the same movement of attribution of guilt for having occurred by sexual transmission.

After a few days, the case presented at the beginning of the text was clarified by the delegate: the accused was undergoing treatment regularly and had an undetectable viral load, while the accuser, in bad faith, sought an opportunity for extortion.

Instead of criminalizing people living with HIV, it is necessary to strengthen health services to promote the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, facilitate access to tests for sexually transmitted agents and ensure treatment with antiretroviral cocktail drugs for those living with HIV. It is worth discussing here a campaign that better clarifies the concept “undetectable = non-transmitter” to society.

The time has passed already to resolve this public health and, also, human rights problem.

Viver com HIV não é crime. Pessoas que vivem com vírus da Aids devem ter tranquilidade como todos.

Por Esper Kallás

Há alguns anos, fui consultado sobre um caso de uma pessoa que, supostamente, tentava transmitir se­xual­mente o HIV. Isso aconteceu pois descobriu-se que vivia com o vírus, depois de terem sido encontra­das receitas médicas em sua gaveta, nas quais constavam os remédios do coquetel de tratamento. O de­legado responsável por investigar a denúncia, até então, tendia a aceitar a abertura do processo.

Criminalizar alguém por estar infectado pelo HIV ainda é um grave problema em vários países do mundo, incluindo o Brasil. Ao menos 92 países têm leis específicas ou suficientemente vagas que permitem res­ponsabilizar judicialmente uma pessoa que vive com o vírus por manter relações sexuais. A situação torna-se ainda mais grave pois a maioria das pessoas vivendo com HIV pertence a grupos populacionais social­mente mais vulneráveis.

Em relações sexuais consensuais, uma pessoa que vive com HIV precisa, obrigatoriamente, revelar seu status sorológico para o parceiro? A resposta é “não”. Sustentando esta posição, seguem algumas ponde­ra­ções.

Em relação à prevenção de infecções sexualmente transmissíveis, ter uma relação sexual consensual traz responsabilidades para todos que dela tomam parte.

O tratamento com o coquetel de antirretrovirais é altamente eficaz no controle da multiplicação do HIV, permitindo que as pessoas consigam manter o HIV indetectável no sangue. Como consequência, deixam de transmitir o HIV por via sexual. Em diversos, extensos e repetidos estudos, os resultados são contun­dentes: pessoas que compõem casais cujo parceiro sexual vive com HIV e tem vírus indetectável não se infectaram, mesmo com relações sexuais sem proteção por camisinha masculina ou feminina. Como re­sultado, uma pessoa que vive com o HIV e está indetectável é um parceiro sexual mais seguro em uma relação sexual desprotegida do que alguém que não sabe se tem o vírus. Daí o conceito de “indetectável = não transmissor”.

A recomendação é partilhada pelo Programa Conjunto das Nações Unidas para HIV/Aids (UNAIDS), que também sugere aos países respeito à confidencialidade das pessoas que vivem com o vírus, auxiliando no combate ao preconceito e favorecendo o acesso aos serviços de saúde. Continuar criminalizando pessoas somente porque vivem com o HIV trilha o caminho inverso.

Comparando HIV aos demais agentes de infecções sexualmente transmissíveis, nota-se que estes também podem levar a consequências potencialmente graves. Por exemplo, a sífilis, na forma terciária, pode com­prometer órgãos e sistemas, inclusive as funções neurológicas. A gonorréia pode levar à infertilidade. O HPV pode levar a câncer genital, especialmente em mulheres. Não há, nestas circunstâncias, o mesmo movimento de imputação de culpa por ter ocorrido transmissão por sexo.

Passados alguns dias, o caso apresentado no começo do texto foi esclarecido pelo delegado: o acusado fazia seu tratamento regularmente e tinha carga viral indetectável, enquanto quem acusou, por má fé, buscava uma oportunidade de extorsão.

Ao contrário de criminalizar as pessoas que vivem com HIV, é preciso fortalecer os serviços de saúde para promoção da prevenção de infecções sexualmente transmissíveis, facilitar acesso a testes para agentes trans­missíveis por via sexual e assegurar tratamento com remédios do coquetel antirretroviral aos que vivem com o HIV. Cabe, aqui, discutir uma campanha que esclareça melhor à sociedade o conceito “inde­tectável = não transmissor”.

Já passou a hora de resolver esse problema de saúde pública e, também, de direitos humanos.