From Auntie Beeb, BBC NEWS | UK | HIV conviction is a landmark case:
Mohammed Dica is the first person to be successfully prosecuted in England and Wales for passing on the Aids virus, HIV, through sex.
Though the case is a landmark, the prosecution followed a decision by the Home Office some years ago that there were enough powers under the Offences against the Person Act 1861 to secure convictions in such cases.
[. . .] Dica's conviction of causing grievous bodily harm under the act has proved them right, and is likely to mean more prosecutions in the future.
The conviction is the second in the UK for transmitting HIV.
In February 2001 Stephen Kelly, 33, was convicted under Scottish common law of culpable and reckless behaviour in having unprotected sex with his girlfriend, Anne Craig, knowing he was infected with the virus.
Couldn't find the text of the original doing a quick search, but did get Violence: Reforming the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 at the Home Office site:
2.2 The law on Offences Against the Person has long been criticised by judges and lawyers as archaic, confusing, and unhelpful to all those involved in the criminal justice system. Some have also argued that the state of the law in this areas creates unnecessary and expensive appeals arising from wrong decisions on questions of law. It was against this background of general criticism that in November 1993, as a step towards codification of the criminal law, the Law Commission published its report No 218 "Offences against the Person and General Principles", from which the current proposals are derived.
2.3 As the Law Commission acknowledged, their work relied on the earlier Report on Offences Against the Person by the Criminal Law Revision Committee (CLRC) which first suggested a new set of offences to replace the current offences. In particular, they suggested that the distinctions in the 1861 Act between wounding and various types of "bodily harm" should be swept away, in favour of the simpler concept of "causing injury". They also suggested that there should be a distinction between serious injury and other injury, and that in respect of serious injury there should be a distinction between intentionally causing such injury and recklessly causing such injury.
And also Offences Against the Person Bill:
3. - (1) A person is guilty of an offence if he intentionally or recklessly causes injury to another.
(2) An offence under this section is committed notwithstanding that the injury occurs outside England and Wales if the act causing injury is done in England and Wales.
Also haven't seen if this applies to other communicable diseases as well, or if HIV is being treated as a special case.
Doing more digging. But at a first pass, this looks to be setting/following on a very nasty precedent.
Invoking criminal law to regulate HIV transmission may carry serious risks to public health. These include:
- Discouraging people from seeking HIV testing, on the grounds that they can not be prosecuted for what they do not know. This would in turn damage their health if they were positive;
- [L]eading others into a false expectation that someone with HIV would, for fear of prosecution, automatically disclose their status before sex; given that around a third of people are unaware that they have HIV and that many more are afraid or feel unable to disclose their status, this would be very dangerous;
- [D]iverting attention and resources away from those activities that make a real difference in fighting the spread of HIV, such as education; access to testing; support services and the means of protecting against infection [and] increasing the public stigma and prejudice against people with HIV, thereby further marginalising people who are already susceptible to social exclusion.
That's from an August 2002 paper on the topic. It lists some other reasons this is a Very Bad Idea; give it a look.
THT is the leading HIV & AIDS charity in the UK and the largest in Europe. It was one of the first charities to be set up in response to the HIV epidemic and has been at the forefront of the fight against HIV & AIDS ever since.
Which, depending on your point of view, either makes them far more or far less qualified to comment on this issue.
Wait, did I say "point of view"? I meant, "whether or not you have your head shoved up your arse."
Changed "infectious" to "communicable" up in there.
Update: Huh. Forgot to close the list up there. Must be gettin' old.