HIV Criminalization And Its Effect On A PLHIV


HIV criminalization fuels further debilitation of persons living with HIV once put under incarceration. The negative effects of HIV criminalization are multi-fold: the effects range from bias, stigma to actual incarceration. HIV affects one’s immunity and in a prison setting where the model involves some form of manual labor it may lead to adverse effects. Incarceration denies the offender proper treatment and places one in conditions that continue to expose one to vulnerability contexts of TB, Hepatitis, HIV-strains other than those the offender carries. It interrupts adherence to ART. This has been documented by different scholars.

 HIV criminalization is legislation that penalizes passing HIV virus to another. In the US, this has the backing of liberal and conservative white connecting it to a past in which continued opportunities to deprive economic, cultural and civic metrics of certain population groups with the sanction of federal and state government continue. Garside (2008) in article  The purpose of the criminal justice system, states that there are vested interests who are more concerned with due process, checks and balances, core values and an underlying institutional strength, rather than the pragmatic appeal to the effective and efficient control of crime. What this means in the event a persons living with HIV is incarcerated chances of uninterrupted ART are very minimal.  If prisons were efficient they would take in consideration the status of a person with a +ve HIV diagnosis. There is a tendency to assume one is able-bodied when it comes to say, in-mates with a +ve HIV diagnosis. It is assumed that incarceration serves it purpose when it comes to putting a person guilty of voluntary HIV transmission behind bars. After all, “prisons reduce crime in three principal ways: by incapacitating offenders, by punishing and thereby deterring others who would commit crimes, and by rehabilitating offenders,” argues Garside. Scholars are drawing our attention to the fact that the justice system has two other forces controlling it. On one side is the crime control model whose underlying logic is to contain and repress criminal behavior. Successful criminal detection, prosecution and conviction are hallmarks  that make it an effective criminal justice model. The due process model, places much emphasis on protecting the rights of the innocent as it does on convicting the guilty. The protection of individual liberty in the face of a potentially over-powerful state is a key preoccupation of the due process model according to scholars. Scholars advise that when it comes to a person with a +ve HIV diagnosis, there is need to incorporate the humane treatment or a principle of appropriate protections due to a compromised body immunity status. 



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