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Study: HIV Criminalization Laws Do More Harm Than Good

Study: HIV Criminalization Laws Do More Harm Than Good


Laws criminalizing homosexuality and HIV are wasteful for the governments that institute them, and do little to cease the international spread of HIV, according to the Global Commission on HIV and the Law.

The organization's latest analysis of 1,000 people in 140 countries points the finger at nations where sex work is grounds for criminal punishment, intravenous drug users are neglected, and abstinence-only education is stressed. Additionally, laws that criminalise HIV transmission, exposure or non-disclosure of HIV status discourage people from getting tested and treated.

"Bad laws should not be allowed to stand in the way of effective HIV responses," Helen Clark, United Nations Development Programme Administrator, said in a statement by the commission on Monday.

Other problems include gender inequalities such as female genital mutilation, denial of property rights to women, and allowing marital rape.

"Women are half the world's population and young people are our future," said Nevena Ciric, a Serbian woman living with HIV. "Countries must enact laws that prevent violence against women and girls, as well as ensuring that laws support the provision of comprehensive sexual health education and services to young people."

Photo: Monica Leon, president of the International Fight for Transgender and Transsexual Identity and Stop AIDS Association speaks during a demonstration to protest against the project of the Minister for Women's Rights and Government Spokesperson, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem to abolish prostitution, on July 7, 2012 in Paris.

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