If you are considering making a complaint against someone for infecting you with HIV, be sure it is your own decision and that you are willing to go through with it.
Sometimes Terrence Higgins Trust talks to people who have been pushed into making a complaint by others, or who think they can make a complaint to 'punish' someone but withdraw it before it gets to court. Once a charge is made it can be difficult to go back, even if you want to, and the police can charge you with wasting their time in some instances.
You will need to be able to prove that you couldn’t have become infected any other way. Your sexual history will be investigated and possibly discussed in court. In addition, anyone with whom you had sex before your HIV diagnosis will have to be contacted, and give blood samples, to rule out the possibility that they infected you. You will need to be sure you are comfortable with them finding out that you have HIV.
The police often promise anonymity to complainants in these kinds of cases. This is important, but since they don’t give that same anonymity to the person accused, sometimes this also identifies the complainant - particularly if newspapers cover the details of the case. You need to be sure you are happy with this as it can be difficult to walk away from the case once it has started. It is possible for the case to continue even if you refuse to be a witness at a late stage.
The process can be as distressing to you as to the person accused, especially if it does not result in a conviction.
It’s a good idea to make sure you have emotional support or even counselling if you go ahead with, or are considering, a case. You can either ask THT Direct for a referral or go to your local HIV service using our Service Finder.
Read Policing Transmission by Terrence Higgins Trust & NAT (2008).
Next: Being a witness in an HIV transmission case ››
‹‹ Back to: Being accused of HIV transmission
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This article was last reviewed on
by Anna Peters
Date due for the next review: 16/9/2018
Content Author: Daisy Ellis
Current Owner: Policy
Policing Transmission, Terrence Higgins Trust & NAT (2008)
Investigation Guidance relating to the Criminal Transmission of HIV, NAT and ACPO.
Various people talk about their experiences of living with HIV.
CAB - Citizens Advice Bureau
HIV Drug Interactions
George House Trust
Equality and Human Rights Commission
Copyright 2017 © Terrence Higgins Trust is a registered charity in England and Wales (reg. no. 288527)
Company reg. no. 1778149 and a registered charity in Scotland (reg. no. SC039986). Registered office: 314-320 Gray's Inn Road, London, WC1X 8DP.