Social Context of HIV Research Paper

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(2) In Singapore, a man with HIV has been sentenced to a year in prison for exposing a sexual partner to the virus even though the risk to the partner (whom he fellated) was minimal, if not non-existent (Cameron, Burris and Clayton, 2008, p.3);

(3) In Bermuda, a man with HIV who had unprotected sex with his girlfriend has been sentenced to ten years' imprisonment, even though he did not infect her (UFPNA Fact Sheet, 2008 in Cameron, Burris and Clayton, 2008, p.3);

(4) In June 2008, the highest court in Switzerland held a man liable for negligently transmitting HIV to a sexual partner when he knew that a past partner had HIV, even though he believed, because he experienced no seroconversion symptoms, that he himself did not have HIV. (Bernard, 2008, in Cameron, Burris and Clayton, 2008, p.3)

Cameron, Burris and Clayton (2008) report that these laws are "stunningly wide in their application, and fearsome in their effects" in that these laws "attack rational efforts to lessen the impact and the spread of the epidemic with a sledge-hammer. They represent a rash phenomenon that is taking palce world-wide" including the following:

(1) Law-makers are putting on the statute books new laws that create special crimes of HIV transmission or exposure;

(2) Courts and prosecutors are targeting men and women with HIV for special prosecution;

(3) Criminalization, rather than protecting women, oppresses and endangers women.

(4) Criminalization is often unfairly and selectively enforced;

(5) Criminalization places blame on one person instead of responsibility on two;

(6) These laws are difficult and degrading to apply;

(7) Many of these laws are extremely poorly drafted;

(8) Criminalization increases stigma to those living with HIV. (Cameron, Burris and Clayton, 2008, pp.3-5)

Criminalization of HIV serves to reinforce the stigma experienced by those with HIV and the result is that criminalization of HIV is "thus costly lives." (Cameron, Burris and Clayton, 2008, p.5) According to Cameron, Burris and Clayton (2008) criminalization is in general warranted only in cases where someone sets out, well knowing he has HIV, to infect another person, and achieves this aim." (p.6)

The work of Basmussen (2011) entitled "From Dying to Dignity to Living with Rules" states that counseling has become more important as ARV treatment in Uganda has become up-scaled. An integral part of this program is testing for HIV and governing the conduct of those living with HIV / AIDS. (paraphrased) Conseling in the context of ARV treatment and the ideals surrounding "living positively with HIV / AIDS are being transformed." (Basmuessen, 2011, p.1) The program is such that the life potential of the individuals with HIV / AIDS is prominent and the 'living positively' paradigm includes rules for the conduct of those living with HIV / AIDS in following a healthy lifestyle in terms of the individuals' choices. It is reported that in KCCC and the AIDS clinic in Maracha Hospital the counseling practice is a method based on enabling the self-government of the individual "…according to autonomy choice and inner truth" and is in the Ugandan context "often referred to as counselors are not supposed to give advice but give people information to make their own informed decisions." However, counselors in the two clinics are stated to be "generally committed to the bio-political ambitions of prolonging life with the help of ARV treatment and preventing further spread of HIV which means to them that some 'informed decisions' are obviously better than others." (Basmuessen, 2011, p.1)


The Criminalization of HIV (nd) UNFPA, Worldaids Campaign, IPPF, and GYCA,

Bernard EJ: (2008) Criminal HIV Transmission. 2008 in: HIV is a Virus, Not a Crime: Ten Reasons Against Criminal Statutes and Criminal Prosecutions. Journal of the International AIDS Society. Dec 2008.

UNFPA Fact Sheet (2008) 'The Criminalisation of HIV' in: HIV is a Virus, Not a Crime: Ten Reasons Against Criminal Statutes and Criminal Prosecutions. Journal of the International AIDS Society. Dec 2008.

Bernard EJ (2008) Criminal… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Social Context of HIV.  (2012, May 13).  Retrieved January 21, 2020, from

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"Social Context of HIV."  13 May 2012.  Web.  21 January 2020. <>.

Chicago Format

"Social Context of HIV."  May 13, 2012.  Accessed January 21, 2020.