Opinion: Australian law needs a refresher on the science of HIV transmission

November 9, 2016

Australian law needs a refresher on the science of HIV transmissionHIV researchers are calling for a re-think of laws regarding HIV based on new scientific advances with the disease.

Murdoch University adjunct professor David Nolan from the Institute of Immunology and Infectious Diseases has co-authored a piece for The Conversation on latest evidence on HIV transmission risk and recent advances in HIV prevention and treatment.

The opinion piece builds on their consensus statement published this week in the Medical Journal of Australia.

The authors state:” There have been many advances in HIV diagnosis, prevention and treatment since the identification of the first AIDS cases in the early 1980s.

“While it remains a serious infection, HIV is now a disease that can be effectively managed through medical treatment, regular health monitoring and healthy lifestyle.

“With the advances of recent years in both prevention and treatment, authorities need to be more familiar with latest scientific and medical evidence, and consider alternatives to prosecution such as the public health management approach.”

The researchers believe that the low to negligible risk of transmission mean HIV cases generally do not belong in criminal courts and call for an alternative approach.

“All states and territories have health protocols for managing allegations of risky behaviour. This public health approach – involving education, case management and, where required, behavioural orders and isolation – is a much more effective way of protecting public health,” the researchers said.

The full article can be read here.

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Media contact: Pepita Smyth
Tel: (08) 9360 1289  |  Mobile: 0417 171 551  |  Email: p.smyth@murdoch.edu.au
Categories: General, Research, Health, biomedicine and psychology
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