In the final plenary session in Mexico City on Friday morning, Justice Edwin Cameron gave, as part of his address, ten reasons why criminal laws and criminal prosecutions make bad policy in the response to the AIDS pandemic:
- Criminalisation is ineffective
- Criminal laws and criminal prosecutions are a poor substitute for measures that really protect those at risk
- Criminalisation victimises, oppresses, and endangers women
- Criminal laws and prosecutions are often unfairly and selectively applied
- Criminalisation places blame on one person instead of responsibility on two. This is because women are often not equal partners in transactional sex
- Criminal laws targetting HIV are difficult and degrading to apply.
- Many of the laws are extremely poorly drafted
- Criminalisation increases stigma
- Criminalisation is a strong disincentive to testing
- Criminalisation assumes the worst about people with HIV, and so punishes vulnerability
It would be interesting to hear movement builders comments on these ten points.