HIV prosecutions: global ranking (AIDS 2012)

Presented by Edwin J Bernard at 19th International AIDS Conference, Washington DC, July 22-27, 2012.

Video produced by Nicholas Feustel,, for the HIV Justice Network

Introduction by Susan Timberlake [00:00]
Introduction by Laurel Sprague [01:54]
Start of Edwin J Bernard’s presentation [03:33]
Slide 01: Overview [04:40]
Slide 02: Global Commission on HIV and the Law [05:19]
Slide 03: Case Study: Take a Test, Risk Arrest [05:21]
Slide 04: Global Overview of Laws and Prosecutions [08:29]
Slide 05: Law Enforcement: Top 30 Jurisdictions [09:47]
Slide 06: Law Enforcement Hot Spots [10:58]
Slide 07: Top 15 Global HIV Criminalization Hot Spots [11:19]
Slide 08: Focus On Africa [12:09]
Slide 09: Focus On Africa: Positive Developments [13:08]
Slide 10: Focus On Europe and Central Asia [14:10]
Slide 11: Focus On Europe and Central Africa: Positive Developments [15:18]
Slide 12: Oslo Declaration on HIV Criminalisation [17:45]

Updated abstract based on final data

Criminal prosecutions for HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission: overview and updated global ranking

E.J. Bernard (HIV Justice Network, Berlin, Germany/ Criminal HIV Transmission (blog), Brighton, UK)
M. Nyambe (Global Network of People Living with HIV, GNP+, Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Background: Many jurisdictions continue to inappropriately prosecute people living with HIV (PLHIV) for non-disclosure of HIV-positive status, alleged exposure and non-intentional transmission. Although most HIV-related criminal cases are framed by prosecutors and the media as being cases of ´deliberate´ HIV transmission, the vast majority have involved neither malicious intent nor has transmission actually occurred or the route of transmission been adequately proven.

Methods: This global overview of HIV-related criminal laws and prosecutions is based on latest data from GNP+ Global Criminalisation Scan and media reports collated on Final ranking will be based on the total number of prosecutions by July 1 2012 per 1000 PLHIV.

Results: At least 66 countries have HIV-specific criminal laws and at least 47 countries have used HIV-specific (n=20) or general laws to prosecute HIV non-disclosure, exposure or transmission. Despite growing national and international advocacy, prosecutions have not diminished, particularly in high-income countries, with the greatest numbers in North America. Since 2010, prosecutions have taken place in Belgium and Republic of Congo for the first time. In 2011, although HIV-specific laws were suspended in Denmark and rejected in Guyana, Romania passed a new HIV-specific criminal statute. In Africa, the continent with the most HIV-specific criminal laws but with few known prosecutions, Guinea, Togo and Senegal have revised their existing HIV-related legislation or adopted new legislation in line with UNAIDS guidance.

Conclusions: Given the lack or inadequacy of systems to track HIV-related prosecutions in most places, it is not possible to determine the actual number of prosecutions for every country in the world. These data should be considered illustrative of a more widespread, but generally undocumented, use of criminal law against people with HIV. Improved monitoring of laws, law enforcement, and access to justice is still required to fully understand impact on HIV response and PLHIV.