Most Russian specialists support criminalisation of aspects of HIV
Most infectious disease specialists and epidemiologists in Russia support the criminalisation of aspects of HIV
According to a survey conducted by the Eurasian Women’s AIDS Network (EWNA).
186 specialists participated in the survey. Of the respondents, 30.5% worked in AIDS centres, 28% worked in hospitals, 27% worked in clinics, 20.1% worked in private clinics and 0.6% worked in a clinical diagnostic department.
70.1% of respondents were aware of the contents of Criminal Code Article 122, on “HIV transmission,” which criminalises transmitting HIV or placing another person at risk of transmission. 14% reported that their patients had been prosecuted under this law, and 6.7% of respondents had testified in court.
Most survey participants supported the criminalisation of HIV: only 23% agreed that the law should be repealed completely. 15% thought it should be reclassified as an administrative offense. 7% responded that it should be left as is, but the punishment be mitigated.
Those who specialize in infectious diseases or epidemiology, and/or were employees of state AIDS centres were more likely to be in support of tougher laws. Employees of private fee-paying clinics were more often in favour of reclassifying penalties under this article as an administrative offense or eliminating it altogether.
At the end of 2020, EWNA published data monitoring HIV criminalisation in Russia. According to the study, Russia has one of the highest counts of HIV-related convictions, under Article 122 of the Russian Criminal Code. Most sentences are for actions that placed another person at risk of contracting HIV.
Translated by: Spencer Michaels