Launch of the Expert Consensus Statement on the Science of HIV in the Context of Criminal Law

With the potential for changing the global paradigm of how HIV criminalisation is challenged in courts, the  “Expert consensus statement on the science of HIV in the context of criminal law” was published in last month’s Journal of the International AIDS Society and launched at the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam (AIDS 2018).

The Statement provides the first globally-relevant expert opinion regarding individual HIV transmission dynamics (i.e., the ‘possibility’ of transmission), long-term impact of chronic HIV infection (i.e., the ‘harm’ of HIV), and the application of phylogenetic analysis (i.e., whether or not this can be used as definitive ‘proof’ of who infected whom). Based on a detailed analysis of scientific and medical research, it describes the possibility of HIV transmission related to a specific act during sexual activity, biting or spitting as ranging from low to no possibility. It also clearly states that HIV is a chronic, manageable health condition in the context of access to treatment, and that while phylogenetic results can exonerate a defendant when the results exclude them as the source of a complainant’s HIV infection, they cannot conclusively prove that one person infected another.

HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE has advocated for this document for many years, and supported its development alongside UNAIDS, IAPAC and IAS. Read more about the evidence in the statement in a short summary and Frequently Asked Questions. document.