Since 2001, people living with HIV in the UK have been prosecuted for the reckless transmission of HIV. There are real concerns that these prosecutions are undermining efforts to stop the spread of HIV in the UK and are increasing stigma around HIV.
The National AIDS Trust are campaigning for an end to prosecutions of reckless transmission of HIV through consensual sex. This is because of the need to affirm the individual’s responsibility for his or her own sexual health; the human rights of those people living with HIV and the difficulties of disclosure; the public health considerations and the potential for further discrimination against people living with HIV and disadvantaged groups such as migrants.
Whilst prosecutions continue, they are working to ensure that the best possible guidance is available to prosecutors, lawyers, police, support organisations, healthcare workers, people living with HIV and the organisations which support them.
As a result of pressure from NAT, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) carried out a public consultation on its ‘Policy for Prosecuting Cases Involving Sexual Transmission of Infections which causes Grievous Bodily Harm’ in 2006. In 2008 the CPS published new guidance for prosecutors to explain how it deals with cases involving the intentional or reckless transmission of an infection.
The full CPS guidance can be read on the CPS Website.
h3. Police Investigation of HIV Transmission: A guide for people living with HIV in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) published ‘Investigation Guidance Relating to the Criminal Transmission of HIV’.
NAT has produced a leaflet for people living with HIV in England, Wales and Northern Ireland explaining key points of the ACPO Guidance and what to expect and do if you find yourself involved in a police investigation.
Changes have been proposed to legal aid and will remove whole areas from the scheme, leaving many people little choice but to go it alone. Make sure you know how to represent yourself in court if you ever need to.
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