16 July 2008

Justice Michael Kirby -- Criminalizing HIV

Australian High Court Judge Michael Kirby has spoken about the growing pressure on States to criminalize the transmission of HIV. Justice Kirby while addressing a criminal law conference in Dublin was speaking about the rising rates of HIV infection in Australia and the pressure to see those that transmit the virus punished.

It is Justice Kirby's view that criminalizing the transmission is going to have a a negligible effect on transmission rates, if any effect at all. The idea of criminalizing the transmission of HIV is likely to be counter-productive as this would be best described as a punitive measure.

The money that the State is likely to have to throw at this to make the policy of criminalizing the transmission of HIV would be better spent on research and development that leads to a vaccine and eventually a cure.

The fact that HIV is no longer the immediate death sentence it once was because of significant advances in the effectiveness of antiretrovirals and other drugs has meant that people have become much less cautious in protecting themselves. Perhaps psychologically the idea of a chronic illness is more palatable and less scary than rapid progression to death from an AIDS related illness.

I know Justice Kirby and I once wanted to clerk for the man. Justice Kirby has lost friends to the disease. So, in that sense he has a personal perspective on this.


Brett said...

He is a smart man. I am yet to hear him say anything that was not intelligent and well-reasoned. He would be a fantastic Governor-General. Does Australia still have GGs?

Rob Baiton said...

It does! Just appointed the first female GG of Australia...

And He would!

www.josemoretsa.es said...

It won't work in actual fact, that is what I suppose.