Since the 1980s, legislators and courts have responded in a variety of ways to the onset of the AIDS pandemic. Some responses have been sensitive to the needs of those with HIV, seeking to guarantee heightened levels of confidentiality or freedom from discrimination. Others have sought to use the law as a tool to limit the spread of HIV, for example by imposing liability for its transmission or restricting the freedoms of those who are HIV-positive. Elsewhere, doctors and researchers have grappled with the legal and ethical problems surrounding testing for a condition which many people may not want to be aware of, and with the conflicts which can arise between respect for individual autonomy and the promotion of public health. More recently, treatments for HIV have developed to the extent that, for many, HIV is a chronic disease rather than an inevitably fatal condition. Such treatments, however, pose new challenges: they are expensive and as such are not widely available in those parts of the globe where HIV infection is most widespread. This has caused tensions over issues such as asylum, immigration, and deportation. Additionally, the protection of intellectual property rights may bar such treatments from being made available where the need is most acute. In a comparative perspective, this book examines and evaluates these issues in the UK and, to some extent, other jurisdictions. While concentrating on HIV and AIDS, it also draws on legal responses to other sexually transmitted infections and contagious diseases.
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About the Author
James Chalmers is Regius Professor of Law at the University of Glasgow, having previously taught at the Universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh. He is a former editor of the Edinburgh Law Review. His research interests lie in criminal law, evidence and procedure, along with law and public health. He is a member of the Criminal Courts Rules Council and the Criminal Law Committee of the Law Society of Scotland.