10 REASONS Why Criminalization of HIV Transmission Harms Women
Responding to current trends towards criminalizing HIV transmission and exposure, human rights and AIDS activists are raising concerns about the implications of these laws, especially for women.
Calling for rights-based approaches in the response to HIV and AIDS, the publication ‘10 Reasons Why Criminalization of HIV Exposure or Transmission Harms Women’ clearly illustrates how criminalizing HIV exposure or transmission – far from providing justice for women – endangers and further oppresses women. This document, with 21 original endorsing organizations from around the world, affirms the protection and advancement of women’s rights as key for effective HIV and AIDS responses, and opposes laws that criminalize HIV exposure or transmission.
Women continue to be disproportionately infected and affected by HIV and AIDS. More than half of all people living with HIV are women, and women continue to be at high risk of HIV infection and of related rights abuses. Thus, any response to HIV and AIDS should take into account the effects that the pandemic, and the responses to it, have upon women and women’s vulnerability to HIV infection. Given the gendered societal context in which laws that criminalize HIV transmission or exposure will be applied and implemented, it is more likely to be women who will be prosecuted and feel the consequences of such legislation.