Thursday, 19 August 2010

Re-thinking the Criminalisation of HIV

Zoe Williams has a wonderful piece in the Guardian today examining the issue of the criminalisation of HIV transmission. She does so on the back of the trial of Nadja Benaissa (of the German pop group No Angels). She challenges the approach of various jurisdictions to the issue of criminalising HIV transmission, passionately writing that:

'...this is about retaking the territory of sexual morality, from which the state has been systematically ejected. It is no longer acceptable to pillory the promiscuous merely for existing: if, however, their behaviour can be reframed as a concrete threat to others, rather than a nebulous menace to society, then authoritarianism is suddenly back in the conversation. The agenda of social conservatism – that promiscuity is wrong, that homosexuality is aberrant, that women should be the gatekeepers of sexual activity, since men can't help themselves (unless of course they're homosexual, in which case they should try harder) – is so thoroughly rejected in general terms that this opportunity to revivify it was too good to miss'.

Read the full article here.

I think she's spot on and I recently wrote on this issue in the Journal of Criminal Law. The full reference is: Ashford, C (2010) ‘Barebacking and the ‘Cult of Violence’: Queering the Criminal Law’, 74(4) Journal of Criminal Law 337.

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