In 2013 the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria sentenced Lovers Phiri, a former Department of Health HIV counselor to six years in jail after he had unprotected sex with his then girlfriend and never disclosed his status to her, he was subsequently convicted of attempted murder.
A similar case in the United States occurred when a man was handed two 15 year imprisonment sentences following his non-disclosure of his HIV+ status when he had sex twice with his partner on both occasions, using a condom and not infecting her.
HIV criminalisation refers to the use of criminal law to penalize alleged, perceived, or potential HIV exposure. South Africa has not adopted any HIV-specific criminal law but the conversation around the criminalisation of HIV is on-going. The implementation of such laws is said to decrease the number of infections but would also drastically foster stigma and discrimination.
Joining the discussion is Neil Kirby, Director and Head of Healthcare and Life Sciences practice at Werksmans Attorneys as well as Dr Sindi Van Zyl, an HIV/AIDS expert who provides ongoing support and health-care education.
This edition of Law Focus is brought to by Wits Radio Academy: Produced by Simba Honde and hosted by Veronica Makhoali, Millicent Ndiweni, Sesethu Zingelwa and Siyabonga Motha. Technical production provided by Kutlwano “Gwinch” Serame