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Public Policy Announced on the Criminal Prosecution of Sexually Transmitted Infections

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has announced new public policy and guidance to prosecutors to explain how it deals with cases involving the intentional or reckless sexual transmission of an infection. 

The National AIDS Trust was consulted and provided advice to the CPS in the development of the guidance.  Whilst remaining opposed to prosecutions for the reckless transmission of HIV, the National AIDS Trust welcomes the valuable clarifications the CPS has made in this guidance.

Deborah Jack, Chief Executive of the National AIDS Trust comments;

“The National AIDS Trust remains opposed to prosecutions for the reckless transmission of HIV. Criminalising HIV transmission increases stigma and discrimination of people living with HIV and can deter testing.  Efforts to prevent HIV should instead focus on support and advice for people living with HIV on how to disclose to sexual partners and protect them through safer sex.  And most importantly all of us must take responsibility and use a condom, instead of relying on someone else for our sexual health.

This new guidance from the CPS is helpful in clarifying the prosecution process.  The level of evidence needed to prove intentional or reckless sexual transmission of infection has rightly been set very high and it is unlikely that there will be many prosecutions.  However whilst prosecutions continue the National AIDS Trust will work to ensure the best possible advice is available to prosecutors, lawyers, police, support organisations, healthcare workers and people living with HIV.” 

The National AIDS Trust would advise anyone concerned about criminal prosecutions for HIV transmission to contact THT Direct (0845 1221 200) or seek professional legal advice.

Notes to the Editor:

1- The Crown Prosecution Service’s Guidance on Intentional or Reckless Sexual Transmission of Infection and accompanying policy statement is available to read at

2- The National AIDS Trust (NAT) is the UK's leading independent policy and campaigning voice on HIV and AIDS. It aims to prevent the spread of HIV, encourage early diagnosis, ensure people living with HIV have access to treatment and care, and eradicate HIV-related stigma and discrimination.

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