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Criminalising HIV Transmission: policy

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What is the VAC/GMHC position? Is it only about the law? AIDS 2008 Conference in Mexico City ... VAC/GMHC position: ... VAC/GMHC position (continued) Issues: ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Criminalising HIV Transmission: policy


1
Criminalising HIV Transmissionpolicy advocacy
issues
  • Mike Kennedy
  • PLWHA Victoria dinner
  • 28 August 2008

2
  • OUTLINE
  • Where are we at globally post-Mexico conference?
  • What are the policy/advocacy issues in Australia?
  • What is the VAC/GMHC position?
  • Is it only about the law?

3
  • AIDS 2008 Conference in Mexico City
  • Significant focus on global moves towards
    criminalisation of HIV transmission
  • Abstract driven session
  • Seminar chaired by Edwin Cameron
  • THT session in the Global Village
  • Edwin Cameron plenary
  • Several posters
  • Fledgling global network to exchange information
    and campaign ideas

4
  • Edwin Cameron plenary slides available online
  • http//www.aids2008.org/Pag/PSession.aspx?s38
  • http//www.aidsmap.com
  • http//www.criminalhivtransmission.blogspot.com

5
10 reasons why criminal laws and prosecutions
make bad policy in the AIDS epidemic
6
10 Reasons
  • Criminalisation is ineffective

10 reasons why criminal laws and criminal
prosecutions make bad policy in the AIDS epidemic.
7
10 Reasons
  • Criminalisation is ineffective
  • Criminal laws and criminal prosecutions are a
    poor substitute for measures that really protect
    those at risk

10 reasons why criminal laws and criminal
prosecutions make bad policy in the AIDS epidemic.
8
10 Reasons
  • Criminalisation is ineffective
  • Criminal laws and criminal prosecutions are a
    poor substitute for measures that really protect
    those at risk
  • Criminalisation victimises, oppresses and
    endangers women

10 reasons why criminal laws and criminal
prosecutions make bad policy in the AIDS epidemic.
9
10 Reasons
  • Criminalisation is ineffective
  • Criminal laws and criminal prosecutions are a
    poor substitute for measures that really protect
    those at risk
  • Criminalisation victimises, oppresses and
    endangers women
  • Criminal laws and prosecutions are often unfairly
    and selectively applied

10 reasons why criminal laws and criminal
prosecutions make bad policy in the AIDS epidemic.
10
10 Reasons
  • Criminalisation places blame on one person
    instead of responsibility on two

10 reasons why criminal laws and criminal
prosecutions make bad policy in the AIDS epidemic.
11
10 Reasons
  • Criminalisation places blame on one person
    instead of responsibility on two
  • Criminal laws targeting HIV are difficult and
    degrading to apply

10 reasons why criminal laws and criminal
prosecutions make bad policy in the AIDS epidemic.
12
10 Reasons
  • Criminalisation places blame on one person
    instead of responsibility on two
  • Criminal laws targeting HIV are difficult and
    degrading to apply
  • Many of the laws are extremely poorly drafted

10 reasons why criminal laws and criminal
prosecutions make bad policy in the AIDS epidemic.
13
10 Reasons
  • Criminalisation places blame on one person
    instead of responsibility on two
  • Criminal laws targeting HIV are difficult and
    degrading to apply
  • Many of the laws are extremely poorly drafted
  • Criminalisation increases stigma

10 reasons why criminal laws and criminal
prosecutions make bad policy in the AIDS epidemic.
14
10 Reasons
  • Criminalisation is a strong disincentive to
    testing

10 reasons why criminal laws and criminal
prosecutions make bad policy in the AIDS epidemic.
15
10 Reasons
  • Criminalisation is a strong disincentive to
    testing
  • Criminalisation assumes the worst about people
    with HIV, and so punishes vulnerability

10 reasons why criminal laws and criminal
prosecutions make bad policy in the AIDS epidemic.
16
  • Three groupings in the debate
  • Those who believe that there is no circumstance
    in which criminal sanctions should ever apply to
    an act of HIV transmission
  • Those who believe that as many prosecutions as
    possible should be launched where HIV
    transmission occurs involving a person who knows
    that they are living with HIV
  • The rest of us who are somewhere in between these
    two extremes

17
A firm and clear message
  • Criminalisation is a poor tool for regulating HIV
    infection and transmission
  • There is no public health rationale for invoking
    criminal law sanctions against those who
    unintentionally transmit HIV or expose others to
    it
  • The sole rationale for criminalisation is
    retribution and punishment but that is a poor
    public health law aim
  • Criminalisation is warranted only where

someone sets out, knowing he has HIV, to infect
another, and succeeds.
18
  • Australian policy/advocacy issues
  • Still have public health laws that create HIV
    transmission offences
  • Still have public health laws that require
    disclosure of HIV status to prospective sexual
    and/or injecting partners
  • Still have Australian criminal laws that apply
    only to HIV transmission

19
  • VAC/GMHC position
  • Advocated for removal of transmission offence
    from the new Public Health and Wellbeing Act
  • Opposes HIV-specific transmission provisions in
    the Crimes Act as unnecessary
  • Believes general Crimes Act provisions are
    sufficient to deal with the few cases where
    criminal sanctions might be applied
  • Supports AFAO consensus statement (March 2007)

20
  • VAC/GMHC position (continued)
  • Has concerns about some aspects of the new Public
    Health and Wellbeing Act and will continue to
    lobby the government as Regulations are drafted
    (up to 1 January 2010)
  • Has concerns about some aspects of the revised
    Guidelines for the management of people living
    with HIV who put others at risk (May 2008) and
    addressing these with DHS at present

21
  • VAC/GMHC position (continued)
  • Issues
  • Scope of the Guidelines
  • Referral to police and the right not to
    incriminate yourself
  • Inadequate/inappropriate internal appeal/review
    mechanisms

22
  • . . . and finally
  • (and this is Mike Kennedy, ageing gay community
    member)
  • Is this only about the law?

23
  • The law is a very blunt tool

24
  • The law is a very blunt tool
  • Most of our interpersonal (including sexual)
    interactions are not governed, in any real sense,
    by the law

25
  • The law is a very blunt tool
  • Most of our interpersonal (including sexual)
    interactions are not governed, in any real sense,
    by the law
  • Most of us dont murder, rape or do GBH to others
    because it would be the wrong thing to do, not
    because it would be illegal

26
  • The law is a very blunt tool
  • Most of our interpersonal (including sexual)
    interactions are not governed, in any real sense,
    by the law
  • Most of us dont murder, rape or do GBH to others
    because it would be the wrong thing to do, not
    because it would be illegal
  • Not everything that is not illegal (and
    therefore, by extension, lawful) is deemed to be
    OK

27
  • The law is a very blunt tool
  • Most of our interpersonal (including sexual)
    interactions are not governed, in any real sense,
    by the law
  • Most of us dont murder, rape or do GBH to others
    because it would be the wrong thing to do, not
    because it would be illegal
  • Not everything that is not illegal (and
    therefore, by extension, lawful) is deemed to be
    OK
  • Can we (or if we can, how can we) have this
    discussion as HIV positive and HIV negative gay
    men about shared responsibility and what it means
    in a practical, real sense

28
  • While most of us subscribe to shared
    responsibility, what does this mean in practice?

29
  • While most of us subscribe to shared
    responsibility, what does this mean in practice?
  • Does it mean/when does it mean shared equally?

30
  • While most of us subscribe to shared
    responsibility, what does this mean in practice?
  • Does it mean/when does it mean shared equally?
  • What are the factors that might lead to shared,
    but shared differently, responsibility?

31
  • So two final open questions
  • Are things in Melbourne robust enough for us to
    be able to have this discussion and how and where
    might it occur in a way that does not degenerate
    into blame, and further stigmatisation?
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