Criminal laws are being used in states across the country, as well as in countries across the globe, to try to deter and punish the transmission of HIV. The use of criminal law to address HIV is ineffective in reducing transmission and unjustified except in very rare cases where a person acts with conscious and malicious intent to transmit HIV and transmission occurs. Nonetheless, thousands of people around the world have been prosecuted and imprisoned.
CHLPP Co-Director Scott Burris is a leading researcher in issues of the criminalization of HIV. He sits on the Technical Advisory Group of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, a project of the United Nations Development Programme. The Global Commission was founded to develop evidence-based and human rights-based recommendations for effective HIV responses, including punitive laws and practices that effectively criminalize HIV.