In countries all over the world, there have been prosecutions of people living with HIV who allegedly did not disclose their HIV status prior to sex (HIV non-disclosure), were accused of exposing others to HIV (HIV exposure), and/or were accused of transmitting HIV to others (HIV transmission). Prosecutions have also occurred for acts such as biting, spitting, scratching, and for breastfeeding. Convictions are common, including in cases where there was no proven intent to harm and no scientific evidence that transmission was possible or likely. This HIV Criminalisation Defence Case Compendium aims to support lawyers acting for those who are alleged to have put others at risk of HIV. Based on research conducted in late 2017, it includes criminal cases from all over the world where strong defence arguments have resulted in an acquittal or reduced penalty for persons living with HIV who have been accused of HIV exposure, non-disclosure or transmission.
The Compendium is not intended to be comprehensive. It has been developed as a resource for a training of lawyers from Africa – “Lawyers for HIV and TB justice: Strategic litigation, legal defence and advocacy training” – held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 20-23 February 2018.