Unsafe law: Health, rights and the legal response to HIV

Matthew Weait

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper describes the ways in which, over the past three decades, law has come to serve as an obstacle in the fight against HIV, and how it contributes to the stigmatisation of, and discrimination against, people living with the virus. It argues that in order to make unsafe law safer, policy-makers, legislators and those responsible for the interpretation and enforcement of law must base their HIV response not on populist morality but on the strong evidence base provided by three decades of clinical, scientific and social research. Drawing on that research and the author's own involvement in policy development in this area, it suggests that rights-based arguments are, while important, insufficient as the basis for delivering the changes that are necessary, discusses the difficulties involved in achieving those changes, and argues that legal scholarship and research has an important role to play in HIV activism and combating the global epidemic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-564
Number of pages30
JournalInternational Journal of Law in Context
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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