Criminalization of HIV non disclosure, exposure and transmission: Is it the solution to the protection of women against violence in Zimbabwe
Huni, Hilda Varaidzo
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This research seeks to interrogate whether section 79 of the Criminal Law codification and Reform Act, that is on wilful transmission of HIV protects women against infections and violence. The main focus was on the attitudes towards sexuality by various women as well as the problems of prosecuting such cases. I used methodologies which includes the women’s law approach, the human rights approach, actors and structures as well as the sex and gender analysis. Each methodology assisted me to explore the real challenges in using the law to prevent new infections on HIV as well as protecting women against such. The women’s law approach was useful in getting to know what the women really wanted and how they thought this law could help them. The actors and structures helped me to interrogate deep into what these key informants thought about the law and how they were dealing with the problems they encountered in dealing with such cases. An example is on prosecutors who bring the cases before the court. They face various challenges in trying to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an accused person actually infected the complainant with the virus and if he did, it was deliberate. I also interrogated the law on the doctor patient relationship and how the laws should be aligned so that the prosecutors know what to o when the doctor is the one with the evidence and is supposed to testify, yet because of the doctor client privilege the same law does not allow them to testify, disclosing what they would have discussed with their patients. I also discussed the right to know one’s status against the right to private, and sought to strike a balance between the two competing rights.