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The public health implications of HIV criminalization: past, current, and future research directions

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While public health remains the primary site of authority for preventing HIV transmission, recent shifts in the biopolitics of HIV have heightened tensions in the institutional and discursive relations through which the sexual lives of people living with HIV and broader HIV epidemics are regulated. Most notably, over the past decade, criminal justice responses to HIV have gained considerable traction. The growing use of the criminal law to regulate perceived HIV transmission risks has occasioned considerable controversy among people living with HIV, community-based AIDS organizations, health-care providers, public health authorities, prosecutors, judges, and the legal community. This article introduces a special section of Critical Public Health focused on the public health implications of HIV criminalization. The article reviews past and current work on the topic, situates the contributions made by the articles published in the special section, and outlines directions for future inquiry.
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Keywords: HIV/AIDS; criminal law; public health

Document Type: Editorial

Affiliations: Department of Sociology, York University, Toronto, Canada

Publication date: August 8, 2015

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