A critical analysis of the Discrimintaion of the Wilfulltransmission of HIV/Aids in Zambia

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Mdala, Harriet Aalyiana
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In a bid to prevent the HIV/AIDS virus from spreading, many countries across the globe have adopted various measures that are hoped to contain the spread of the deadly disease. One of the mechanisms adopted is the criminalisation of the wilful transmission of HIV/AIDS. Basically, criminalisation of the wilful transmission of HIV/AIDS involves a process by which the government, through the Legislature and the Judiciary, impose criminal sanctions on persons who have been accused of intentionally affecting others with HIV/AIDS. Criminalisation of the wilful transmission of HIV/AIDS can be done through the use of two mechanisms. The first method entails the prosecution of an accused person through the use of the criminal laws that already exist in a particular jurisdiction such as the laws provided under the Penal Code or the Public Health Act. In the United States of America for example, a number States such as New York have adopted the already existing criminal laws in order to prosecute persons who have allegedly intentionally transmitted the HIV/AIDS virus. Another method that has been developed in order to hold persons criminally liable for intentionally transmitting HIV/AIDS is through the enactment of legislation specifically targeted at persons accused of wilfully transmitting HIV/AIDS. This method has recently been adopted by a number of West African countries through the use of the N'Djamena Model Law. Zambia has, over the years, also experienced increased calls for the criminalisation of the wilful transmission of HIV/AIDS. The current study found that in spite of the advocacy to introduce criminal laws that can prosecute the intentional spread of HIV/AIDS; a number of profound negative consequences may result if Zambia were to actually enact or implement such legislation. The findings of this study suggest that criminalising the wilful transmission of HIV/AIDS could result in human rights violations; discrimination against women and girls; and generally decrease the efficacy of other measures utilised to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS in Zambia such as VCT and PMCT. In light of the above negative effects of the consequences that may result from criminalisation of HIV/AIDS, the study found that the Zambian society should neither enact nor implement any legislation that allows for the criminal prosecution of persons who wilfully transmit the IV/AIDS virus.
Aids - Law and Legislation - Zambia