Use of scientific evidence in criminal prosecutions for HIV transmission

A briefing paper highlighting the limitations of phylogenetic evidence in criminal trials of HIV transmission has been produced by the National AIDS Trust and NAM.

The paper is aimed at HIV virologists or clinicians who may be called as expert witnesses in criminal HIV transmission cases, as well as professionals working in the criminal justice system. It explains how phylogenetic analysis should and should not be used.

The manner in which phylogenetic analysis has been used in certain cases has however caused widespread concern. The one acquittal to date in criminal prosecutions of HIV transmission came after Dr Anna Maria Geretti, HIV virologist and one of the co-authors of the paper, highlighted serious flaws in the prosecution’s use of phylogenetic analysis.

‘HIV Forensics: The use of phylogenetic analysis as evidence in criminal investigation of HIV transmission’ is available to download from the National AIDS Trust:

or from NAM:

For further information contact Rachael Bruce on 020 7814 6730.

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