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UNAIDS’ ‘Zero Discrimination’ Campaign Discourages Criminalization Of HIV Transmission

UNAIDS’ “Zero Discrimination” campaign, launched this week, “among other goals, seeks to discourage countries from criminalizing the transmission of HIV,” Slate reports. “Over 63 countries have laws on the books, mandating criminal penalties for HIV-positive people who engage in sex without disclosing their status, according to the organization,” the news service notes. “In addition to human rights concerns, such laws can be counterproductive, creating a climate of fear which discourages patients from seeking treatment,” Slate writes (Keating, 12/3). “Meanwhile, 76 countries criminalize same-sex relations — a factor that is linked to increased HIV prevalence. And in countries with punitive laws of this kind, one in seven HIV-positive people report being denied health care, with one in 10 denied jobs,” New Scientist writes. “‘Getting to zero new HIV infections will be impossible without striving towards zero discrimination,’ says Michel SidibĂ©, executive director of UNAIDS,” according to the news service (Coghlan, 12/3).