'Criminalize Hate Not HIV' is part of a growing global campaign to raise awareness about the impact of the criminal law on national responses to HIV.
The campaign was launched at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna in July 2010 and is managed by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).
'Criminalize Hate not HIV' focuses on the ways that Governments and prosecutors around the world use the criminal law to prosecute people for passing on or exposing others to the HIV virus. Most importantly, it aims to demonstrate how using the criminal law in this way undermines public health HIV interventions and prevention efforts, increases stigma and discrimination towards people living with HIV and marginalizes vulnerable people who may be at risk.
The nature and use of the criminal law and its impact on the response to HIV is neither well documented nor well understood. Criminalize Hate Not HIV aims to shine a light on:
• how the legal basis of these prosecutions is often weak
• how criminalization can undermine HIV prevention strategies and approaches
• how the use of criminal law compromises the human rights of people living with or at risk of HIV
'Criminalize Hate not HIV' aims to be a global resource that any individual or agency can use to support their own campaigning work on HIV prosecutions.
IPPF is a global service provider and a leading advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. IPPF was formed in 1952 at the Third International Conference on Planned Parenthood in Bombay, India.
We are a global network of Member Associations, and we work in over 170 countries - providing and campaigning for sexual and reproductive health care and rights.
We employ over 300 people in our Central/Regional Offices and are one of the world's largest organisations: we have more service delivery points than McDonald's.
We had 88.2 million visits and served approximately 33 million clients in 2010.
What is IPPF’s position?
Legislation that criminalizes the forward sexual transmission of HIV is now appearing in some countries. This can lead to people living with HIV being prosecuted for another person becoming HIV positive. Prosecuting people on the basis of their HIV status may serve an individual’s desire for justice, but it will have significant implications for public health. Criminalizing HIV transmission will deepen stigma and discrimination, remove incentives to HIV testing (if an individual doesn’t know their status they cannot be prosecuted) as well as undermining trust in healthcare providers. Criminalizing HIV transmission also places the responsibility for HIV prevention solely with people living with HIV, whereas in reality HIV prevention is the equal responsibility of all and not just people living with HIV. All these factors will hinder access to HIV prevention, treatment and care services.
Moves to criminalize HIV transmission are frequently intended to allow action in instances of rape and abuse. Although legal action is undoubtedly necessary in cases of violence like this, the legal instruments used should be based on rape or abuse and not on HIV status. IPPF opposes legislation that criminalizes HIV transmission, whether classified as reckless or intentional. Alternatives to the criminal law must be sought to resolve conflict in these instances.