XIX International AIDS Conference


WEAD02 Get a Test; Risk Arrest
  Oral Abstract Session : Track D
Venue: Session Room 9
Time: 25.07.2012, 11:00 - 12:30
Co-Chairs: Laurel Sprague, United States
Susan Timberlake, Switzerland
 
 

11:00
WEAD0201
Abstract
Powerpoint
Webcast
Criminal prosecutions for HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission: overview and updated global ranking
E.J. Bernard1,2, M. Nyambe3
1HIV Justice Network, Berlin, Germany, 2Criminal HIV Transmission (blog), Brighton, United Kingdom, 3Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), Amsterdam, Netherlands
E. Bernard, Germany

11:15
WEAD0202
Abstract
Powerpoint
Webcast
The impact of HIV/AIDS criminalization on awareness, prevention and stigma in the: a qualitative analysis of stakeholders' perspectives in Ontario, Canada
J. Lax-Vanek1, S. Rans1, B. Greene1, K. Chung1, A. Shorkey1, M. Wilson2
1McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada, 2McMaster University, Program in Policy and Decision Making, Hamilton, Canada
J. Lax-Vanek, Canada

11:30
WEAD0203
Abstract
Webcast
When sex is a crime: ending the criminalization of HIV-positive women's sexuality in the United States by using grass roots advocacy and leadership development to eliminate criminal HIV exposure and transmission laws
B. Kelly1, B. Roose-Snyder2, V. Johnson3, C. Hanssens2, Positive Justice Project
1U.S. Positive Women's Network, a Project of WORLD, New York, United States, 2Center for HIV Law and Policy, New York, United States, 3National Women and AIDS Collective, Washington, United States
B. Kelly, United States

11:45
WEAD0204
Abstract
Webcast
Punishing HIV: how Michigan trial courts frame criminal HIV disclosure cases
T. Hoppe
University of Michigan, Sociology, Ann Arbor, United States
T. Hoppe, United States

12:00
WEAD0205
Abstract
Powerpoint
Webcast
Advocating against the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure: an analysis of community-led, science-based criminal law reform in Ontario, Canada
E. Mykhalovskiy1, R. Peck2, C. Kazatchkine3, T. McCaskell4, G. Betteridge5
1York University, Toronto, Canada, 2HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic (Ontario), Toronto, Canada, 3Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Toronto, Canada, 4Ontario Working Group on Criminal Law and HIV Exposure, Toronto, Canada, 5Legal and Policy Consulting, Toronto, Canada
E. Mykhalovskiy, Canada

Powerpoints presentations
Criminal prosecutions for HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission: overview and updated global ranking - Edwin Jeremy Bernard

The impact of HIV/AIDS criminalization on awareness, prevention and stigma in the: a qualitative analysis of stakeholders' perspectives in Ontario, Canada - Jessica Lax-Vanek

Advocating against the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure: an analysis of community-led, science-based criminal law reform in Ontario, Canada - Eric Mykhalovskiy



Rapporteur reports

Track D report by Felicita Hikuam


About half of countries in the world criminalise HIV or use criminal law to prosecute PLHIV, which leads to increased stigma, fear and rights violations, particularly against already marginalised groups such as women, people of colour, sex workers and men who have sex with men. “Just as we are about the normalise HIV, we go and criminalise it,” the chair explained.

A global movement against this ‘fundamentally unjust, morally harmful” practise is gaining momentum, and many countries are having discussions about the role of the law in the HIV response and reforming harmful laws. 

The vague definitions and terminology in laws criminalising HIV transmission or exposure cause confusion for PLHIV on their rights and responsibilites, the responsibilities of their partners and around disclosure. “It becomes an issue of don’t ask, don’t tell”. The role of the law should consider the complexities of women’s lives, as women are often at the receiving end of the harmful impact of the law in the context of HIV.

The latest advancements in science are not impacting on the judicial system, where HIV facts are often misrepresented. The sensationalist reporting by the media adds nuance to the levels of fear, confusion and discrimination in the general public.

Prosecutoral guidelines have the potential to lessen the misapplication of the law. Affected people, health professionals, media, law enforcement and the judiciary should work together to call for a reform of laws, limit harm and to protect the rights of PLHIV.

Criminal laws should be repealed or used sparingly, if at all. Prosecution should be limited only to cases where intentional transmission actually occurred. The law should not be selectively enforced to target already marginalised people, and the criminal law should be used in a way that is based on scientific knowledge and should not undermine the HIV response.




CPC report by Laurel Sprague


In this session, panelists shared findings related to the effects of criminal laws related to HIV status. Edwin Bernard, HIV Justice Network, provided an updated “shame and blame” ranking of countries which prosecute based on HIV status. The highest rates of prosecutions occur in high-income countries, with the United States topping the list. In Africa, Bernard noted that 28 countries have adopted HIV-specific laws; more than half of these laws resulted from previous USAID-funded efforts for adoption of  the 2004 “model law.” Despite claims that laws would protect women, the result has been disproportionate prosecutions of women. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, prosecutions have been rare; however, Western Europe has high rates of prosecutions. Positive developments can be seen in Africa and in Western Europe, with advocacy campaigns in four African countries to remove problematic sections of the criminal laws and committees in three European countries to review and revise these laws.

Jessica Lax-Vanek, McMaster University, presented an analysis of the effects of criminal laws in Ontario, Canada, on awareness, stigma and prevention. Conducting a literature review combined with stakeholder interviews, the research team identified key themes: confusion regarding which behaviors constitute “significant risk;” the negative impact of the media; negative impact on disclosure; perceived decrease in testing rates; and a negative impact among the wider population on the sense of shared responsibility for safer sex.

Brook Kelley, U.S. Positive Women’s Network, discussed harms to HIV-positive women caused by criminalization in the United States. Criminalization laws in the United States require that a person know that she or he is HIV-positive but typically do not require transmission. Some laws do not allow disclosure as a defense and others criminalize behaviors that do not transmit HIV, such as spitting. Kelly discussed the bias faced by people with HIV in courtrooms and the devastation caused by a conviction, including loss of economic opportunities, loss of child custody, and requirements to register as sex offenders. HIV criminalization laws are increasingly used to prosecute women, particularly poor women, racial minorities, transgender women, and sex workers. Kelly located these laws within a larger context of criminalization of women, regulation of women’s sexuality and reproductive choices and forced drug testing for women on welfare.

Trevor Hoppe, University of Michigan, presented local research findings about how trial courts frame HIV criminalization. In Michigan, neither transmission or risk of transmission is required for prosecution. Of the cases that Hoppe was able to identify, defendants were overwhelmingly and disproportionately black men with female partners. Defendants who chose jury trials received the highest sentences. The language used by prosecutors increasingly compared HIV exposure to murder. Judges demonstrated a lack of willingness to consider current scientific evidence about transmission risks when introduced by defense lawyers.

Jessica Lax-Vanek, McMaster University, presented an analysis of the effects of criminal laws in Ontario, Canada, on awareness, stigma and prevention. Conducting a literature review combined with stakeholder interviews, the research team identified key themes: confusion regarding which behaviors constitute “significant risk;” the negative impact of the media; negative impact on disclosure; perceived decrease in testing rates; and a negative impact among the wider population on the sense of shared responsibility for safer sex.

Eric Mykhalovskiy, York University, described Canadian grassroots efforts to reform the criminal laws through the activities of the Ontario Working Group on Criminal Law and HIV Exposure (CLHE) and partner organizations. This largely volunteer organization focuses on legal defense, through enlisting defense lawyers to the cause, research on public health impacts, a campaign for prosecutorial guidance, intervening in appeal courts, and community and media outreach. Successes include better legal defense, shifts in discourse about criminalization within HIV communities and some media, some education of judges, success in higher courts, and an extended network of allies. However, prosecutorial guidelines have not been adopted. 




   

    The organizers reserve the right to amend the programme.


Contact Us | Site map © 2012 International AIDS Society