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Australian law needs a refresher on the science of HIV transmission

Mark Boyd and colleagues write in The Conversation (8.11.16) about how HIV diagnosis owing to unintentional transmission, while devastating for patients and their families, is no longer a death sentence and should not be prosecuted as such.

'Being diagnosed with HIV is a confronting experience.

'However the stigma associated with HIV infection – a hangover from its social and medical history – is responsible for an exaggerated perception of transmission risk through sex, and the harms of living with HIV infection.

'In our consensus statement published this week in the Medical Journal of Australia, we detail the latest evidence on HIV transmission risk and recent advances in HIV prevention and treatment.

'We propose that legal cases relating to HIV transmission should be considered in light of such evidence, and that alternatives to prosecution such as the public health management approach are often appropriate.'


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