HC Deb 26 January 1989 vol 145 cc669-70W
Mr. Butler

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will seek to make it a criminal offence for a prostitute knowingly to infect a person with HIV or hepatitis B.

Mr. John Patten

We have considered most carefully whether it should be an offence for one person knowingly to pass HIV on to another, but have concluded, for the present, that this would not be justified, principally because:

  1. (a) there is little evidence that reckless infection is a problem or that people who are HIV antibody-positive are deliberately infecting others;
  2. (b) any such offence would be difficult to prove and probably unworkable in practice;
  3. (c) it is doubtful whether an offence would deter; and
  4. (d) the introduction of an offence might well be counter-productive, discouraging those at risk from being tested and, arguably, thereby contributing to the spread of the disease.
Similar considerations apply in relation to hepatitis.