Canada: Judge Slams Criminalization of HIV
June 16, 2009
Canada has filed criminal charges against more people with HIV per capita than any other country and is setting a poor example for other nations on how to deal rationally with HIV/AIDS, according to a top South African jurist. Canada has put more than 90 HIV-positive people on trial for having unprotected sex, even when no HIV transmission occurred, resulting in almost 70 convictions since the late 1980s, said Edwin Cameron, a judge on South Africa's Constitutional Court.
AIDS activists must accept instances where criminal liability is justified, such as when someone with HIV actively deceives partners and infects them, Cameron said. But Canada should ask itself why HIV is subject to criminal prosecution, whereas swine flu and TB transmission are not, Cameron noted.
"I feel a sort of intensity about these issues because of the path I have walked," said Cameron, who is HIV-positive. "I have been close to death from AIDS. I've had my life given back to me. And I'm still the only person holding public office in the whole of Africa, the whole of Africa, who has spoken about living with HIV. So I am speaking from an epidemic of silence."
06.13.2009; Tracey Tyler
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.