Legal Responses to HIV and AIDS by James Chalmers

By James Chalmers

Because the Nineteen Eighties, legislators and courts have spoke back in quite a few how you can the onset of the AIDS pandemic. a few responses were delicate to the wishes of these with HIV, looking to warrantly heightened degrees of confidentiality or freedom from discrimination. Others have sought to take advantage of the legislations as a device to restrict the unfold of HIV, for instance via enforcing legal responsibility for its transmission or limiting the freedoms of these who're HIV-positive. in other places, medical professionals and researchers have grappled with the felony and moral difficulties surrounding trying out for a situation which many folks won't are looking to concentrate on, and with the conflicts that can come up among recognize for person autonomy and the promoting of public healthiness. extra lately, remedies for HIV have built to the level that, for lots of, HIV is a protracted disorder instead of an necessarily deadly situation. Such remedies, in spite of the fact that, pose new demanding situations: they're dear and as such usually are not commonly to be had in these components of the globe the place HIV an infection is such a lot common. This has triggered tensions over concerns reminiscent of asylum, immigration, and deportation. also, the security of highbrow estate rights may perhaps bar such remedies from being made on hand the place the necessity is so much acute. In a comparative point of view, this publication examines and evaluates those matters within the united kingdom and, to a point, different jurisdictions. whereas focusing on HIV and AIDS, it additionally attracts on criminal responses to different sexually transmitted infections and contagious illnesses.

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21 As a result of statutory intervention, frauds as to purpose now vitiate consent in respect of sexual offences in English law: Sexual Offences Act 2003 s 76(2). 22 Bolduc and Bird (1967) 63 DLR (2d) 82, where Bolduc was about to carry out a legitimate vaginal examination on the complainant, V, but falsely claimed to her that Bird (who was there for his own gratification) was a medical intern and asked if he could observe the procedure. It was held that this did not invalidate V’s consent to the examination.

59 The idea appears to have been first mooted in print by Sir Richard Doll in a letter to the British Medical Journal. Doll, who was at that point the chairman of the epidemiological subcommittee of the Medical Research Council’s working party on AIDS, said that he had been unsuccessful in his attempts to obtain the support of doctors for such studies: Three objections to this proposal have been raised: that it is unethical, illegal, and imperfect. How it can be unethical is incomprehensible, as it can do no 56 HF Hull and others, ‘Comparison of HIV-Antibody Prevalence in Patients Consenting to and Declining HIV-Antibody Testing in an STD Clinic’ (1988) 260 Journal of the American Medical Association 935.

55 Ibid [9]. 22 Unlinked Anonymous Testing impossible to make any sensible extrapolation from the results of voluntary testing if it is offered primarily to symptomatic individuals or those considered to be at a high risk of infection. 57 It was against that background that proposals for unlinked anonymous testing programmes (sometimes referred to as ‘blinded screening’) emerged. Such schemes involve using leftover blood from specimens taken for other purposes. The residual specimen is ‘irreversibly unlinked’ from the patient, with only limited non-identifying information being recorded.

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