La penalización del VIH

JOHANNESBURGO – “Si la ley supone eso”, dice el Sr. Bumble en la novela Oliver Twist de Charles Dickens, “la ley es un asno”. Una ley penal que considera preferible que los portadores del VIH no sepan si están infectados y puedan transmitirlo a otros, incluidos sus seres queridos, parece particularmente digna de la condena del Sr. Bumble.

Sin embargo, resulta trágico que, para intentar –equivocadamente– detener la propagación del VIH y el sida, los legisladores de muchas partes del mundo hayan aprobado legislaciones penales que fomentan la ignorancia sobre la enfermedad, castigan a las víctimas y aumentan las probabilidades de que el virus infecte a nuevas víctimas. Algunos países del África central y occidental están promulgando políticas deficientemente formuladas y basadas en la Ley Modelo Africana, que tipifica como delito penal que una persona infectada transmita el virus a otra o la exponga al contacto con él. En algunas jurisdicciones, los fiscales pueden procesar a mujeres encintas portadoras del VIH por exponer potencialmente al contagio con el virus a sus niños aún no nacidos.

Desde luego, existen casos, escasos y dramáticos, en los que una persona con el VIH infecta a otra con la intención específica de hacerle daño. Es  cierto que en algunas partes de África hombres infectados con el VIH o con el sida han llegado a violar a muchachas por creer que las relaciones sexuales con  vírgenes son una cura y algunos defensores de los derechos de las mujeres han apoyado leyes que penalizan la transmisión del VIH con el argumento de que dichas leyes castigarán a los hombres que ocultan su seropositividad a sus parejas sexuales, incluidas sus esposas y sus novias, pero las leyes vigentes son más que suficientes para permitir a los sistemas judiciales dispuestos a hacerlo imponer sanciones apropiadas contra las personas que se propongan hacer daño.

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