GABORONE. — The Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV and AIDS (BONELA) has raised alarm on the possibility of unfair conviction of HIV positive people in the courts of law as a direct result of enforcement of the Public Health Act 2013.
Keikantse Phele, legal advisor at BONELA revealed in an interview on Monday they have observed an increase in cases related to wilful infection of sexual partners with HIV.
She added though such cases are always hard to prove.
People living with HIV are at risk of conviction because Section 16 of the Public Health Act of 2013 holds them responsible for taking all measures and precautions to prevent transmission of the virus to other people.
“This takes away the responsibility from people who are HIV negative. Such an act does not support behavioural change and that will reverse our gains,” she said.
Phele added BONELA wants to reach out to the public and inform them that the Public Health Act has deviated from the principle of upholding human rights.
She said in most cases partners do not go for couple testing and indulge in unprotected sex without insisting on knowing each other’s status.
On the other hand, she said, others mislead their partners into thinking that they are HIV negative.
Phele also explained BONELA is very much against people who infect others with HIV, but also supports collective responsibility so that everyone should take responsibility for their health, regardless of their HIV status.
“People should insist on knowing their partner’s status or at least use protection.
“We have realised that a lot of people with cases relating to willing transmission of HIV have no history of testing, but they come to us claiming that they have been infected,” Phele said. — Xinhua