Britain Proposes Life In Prison For Spreading AIDS

LONDON (Reuters) - People who deliberately pass on the AIDS virus or other life-threatening illnesses could be given life jail sentences under proposals unveiled by the British government Wednesday.
The Home Office (interior ministry) published a consultation paper aimed at updating British laws to cope with incidents in which people have been stabbed with syringes containing the HIV virus, which causes AIDS.
Infections such as salmonella and legionnaires' disease could also be covered under a law that could impose a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for the intentional transmission of serious illnesses.
The Terrence Higgins Trust AIDS charity welcomed the explicit differentiation in the proposals between deliberate and accidental transmission of any disease.
``It is the very rare case of deliberate infection which should be an offense. What is essential is that the law is clear and not open to malicious misuse,'' said the trust's chief executive, Nick Partridge.
The consultation paper will be distributed to lawyers, health workers and other interested parties for discussion before any law is drafted.

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