Kenya court urges change to law criminalizing women who pass HIV to baby

By Katy Migiro NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Human rights groups have welcomed moves to change a Kenyan law passed to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, which criminalizes pregnant women who pass HIV/AIDS to their babies, saying it discouraged people from finding out their status. The 2006 law says that a person who knows they are HIV positive must tell “any sexual contact” of their status in advance and could be jailed for seven years if they “knowingly and recklessly” placed another person at risk of being infected. The High Court ruled this section of the law unconstitutional on March 18 as “it could be interpreted to apply to women who expose or transmit HIV to a child during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding”. The law was introduced to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS in Kenya, which has the fourth largest HIV positive population in the world – 1.7 million people.
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