Czech Republic rejects the charges against 30 HIV-positive gays

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Even though nobody complained on them, 30 people were held captive for having an unsafe sex and HIV as a consequence. The investigation was launched after the men attended sexual health clinics with symptoms of other sexually-transmitted infections. From this, health officials deduced that they must have had unprotected sex with others – despite knowing they had HIV. It is a crime to infect someone with HIV\AIDS in Czech Republic if there was an intention to do it.

However, no-one came forward to make a complaint about any of the individuals. Furthermore, many STIs can be contracted even if condoms are used. The investigation was condemned by human rights defenders and sexual health advocates, including the HIV Justice Network and GMFA. Commenting on the case, Matthew Hodson, Executive Director of NAM, said, ‘I’m delighted that these charges have been dropped. Criminalization of HIV is intended to prevent infections. In reality, it does no such thing. According to reports, most of the men have an undetectable viral load, which means that there is no real risk that they could transmit the virus. When we talk about HIV risk we need to consider how that has been transformed in the era of effective treatment. All of the evidence suggests that undetectable means uninfectious. HIV criminalization doesn’t prevent new HIV infections. Rather it discourages testing, stigmatizes people living with HIV and supports some in believing that that the law will somehow protect them from infection and, as a result, take fewer precautions. On a global level, we need to agitate for a rational and efficient response to this epidemic and leave these outdated, prejudicial and ineffective laws behind.’

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