HIV criminalization may discourage testing, study shows

The American Independent
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July 18, 2012
Issues: 

A team of researchers has published findings that, they say, indicate criminalization of HIV may discourage testing and hinder efforts to prevent the spread of the disease.

The study, from Canada, found that a significant minority of men who have sex with men said that a series of high-profile criminal prosecutions related to HIV nondisclosure had impacted their willingness to get tested for the virus or to discuss risk factors with medical professionals. The researchers further reported that these individuals were more likely to engage in higher-risk sexual practices.

“Our results indicate that, although it is a minority of individuals (17.0% and 13.8%, respectively) who reported that nondisclosure criminal prosecutions either (a) affected their willingness to get tested for HIV, or (b) made them afraid to speak with nurses and physicians about their sexual practices, this small group reported higher rates of unprotected penetrative anal intercourse and internal ejaculation with, on average, a higher number of different sexual partners within the previous 2 months,” wrote the study’s authors.