The law and HIV transmission: Compulsory state powers, public Health and Civil liberties: A global overview and analysis

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Mulenga, Munkanta Peter
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For many people, the role of the law in the fight against HIV/ADDS is to be punitive. To ban conduct this might spread the virus. To isolate those who are already infected. To limit the travel of groups who might be at risk. To punish those who spread the virus and break the rules. The law has been used from ancient times in an attempt to shape society by controlling the conduct of its members. Anyone involved in the process of legal regulation will know the limited capacity of the law to deliver uniform responses from individuals in society - particularly in matters involving sexual activity and drug use. Yet the peril of HIV/ADDS, and the great risk which it presents to the human population in every part of the world, has prompted a range of legal responses which are frequently quite different from those which most ordinary citizens would see as necessary. The object of these responses is the same: to prevent the spread of the virus by controlling human behaviour. The issue presented by the dilemma of legal regulation in the context of HIV/AIDS is to find the strategy which best shapes a future society (and a future world) where the risks of HIV infection are minimised.This paper will review those legal responses. It will do so against a background of a description of the AIDS epidemic and its rapid spread. As in any area of the law, it is essential to base legal responses - if they are to be effective - upon a good empirical understanding of the target to which it is hoped the law will attach. This paper will examine if there is any place for legal responses to the epidemic. With necessary brevity, it will outline some of the chief laws which have been enacted in various jurisdictions. The process of law enactment is continuing unrelentingly as the daunting size of the problem and its terrible consequences for individuals, communities and nations are perceived by the public and their representatives.Hence Chapter one looks at the prescriptive and protective roles of the law.Chapter two looks at the question of HIV specific laws whether or not they are a necessity or hindrance in the fight to control HIV transmission, hi particular, objectives of using criminal law, viz. incapacitation, rehabilitation, retribution and deterrence, Public health law as an alternative to criminalization, Elements of Public laws, Application of criminal law: which approach? Which acts? Will be looked at in some greater detail.Chapter three looks at the effects of HIV/AIDS laws on HIV positive people and in particular the Infringements of human rights, Reinforcement of HIV/AIDS-related stigma, Risk of selective prosecution and Invasions of privacy.Chapter four makes some recommendations to the Zambian Government and Concludes.
AIDS(Disease)government policy-Zambia , AIDS(Disease)law and legislation-Zambia , Public health lwas