NAIROBI, Kenya, April 1 (UPI) — A section of Kenya’s HIV and AIDS Prevention Act has been ruled unconstitutional, a move welcomed by human rights groups.
The 2006 law states that any person who knows they are HIV positive must tell “any sexual contact” about the virus infection. People who have the virus who “knowingly and recklessly” place other people at risk for infection could be jailed for seven years.
That section of the law was ruled unconstitutional by Kenya’s high court earlier this month because the law could “be interpreted to apply to women who expose or transmit HIV to a child during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding.”
“This law has inflicted fear, shame and punishment on countless Kenyans, especially pregnant women,” Evelyne Opondo, Africa director of the New-York based Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), said in a statement. “Now is the time for the Kenya government to immediately amend this legislation and ensure people living with HIV can get the care they need without fear of discrimination or criminalization.”
The Center for Reproductive Rights said the law discourages people from finding out their HIV status and could prevent people with HIV from playing sports or giving first aid.