Denmark may make it easier to prosecute people who spread HIV

BY Advocate.com Editors

February 14 2001 12:00 AM ET

Denmark is considering making it easier to prosecute HIV-positive people who transmit the virus through unprotected sex, the nation’s justice ministry announced February 8, according to Agence France Presse. Justice minister Frank Jensen proposed changing the nation’s existing law against spreading a deadly disease after a 59-year-old Anglo-Danish painter who infected seven of his female lovers with HIV was able to avoid prosecution under provisions of the current law. Danish police had known about the man—who spread HIV to women in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden—since April 2000, when a Norwegian woman filed a complaint against him. But the police were unable to intervene because the nation’s law against spreading a deadly disease, which it defines as one that kills in 10-15 years, can no longer apply to AIDS, which health ministry figures now say kills in 20-25 years. Life expectancy for AIDS patients, which was 10-15 years when the law was formulated in 1994, has since been significantly boosted by antiretroviral drug treatments. But Jensen said that the improved AIDS therapy does not change the fact that the disease is deadly. “It should still be a punishable offense for a person with HIV to knowingly expose others to the danger of contamination,” the minister said. The proposed amendment to the law would once again make it possible to convict those who knowingly spread HIV and sentence them to up to four years in jail.

Tags: Health

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