Risky (legal) business: HIV and criminal culpability in Victoria
by Annette Houlihan
International Journal of Liability and Scientific Enquiry (IJLSE), Vol. 4, No. 4, 2011

Abstract: This article examines HIV transmission jurisprudence in the Australian state of Victoria. It details the development of criminal legislation to respond to the issue of HIV and the application of these offences to prosecute charges of HIV transmission in Victoria. It also outlines the case law in Victoria. The article questions the juridical handling of consensual sexuality and HIV risk, within broader frameworks of moral panics about the Other. Same-sex desiring and African men have been the central characters within successful HIV transmission prosecutions, which attribute liability for infectivity within antiquated epidemiological narratives. In those narratives, gay communities and the African nation were positioned as original and perpetuating sources of infections. Medico-scientific discourses have since identified some behaviours as more risky for infection. Infectivity has also been measured as haphazard and random. However, crimino-legal narratives of HIV still rely on hydraulic and definitive conceptualisations of transmission, combined with panics about other racial and sexual bodies.

Online publication date: Sat, 29-Nov-2014

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