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The University of Southampton
Health Ethics and Law (HEAL)

Criminalising contagion: Legal and ethical challenges of disease transmission and the criminal law

Dr David Gurnham's project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) considers the question - should a person that passes on an infection such as HIV/Aids or herpes or causes a child to inherit a genetic disease be treated as a criminal, in the same way as someone that injures another?

For many people the criminal law might appear to be an appropriate tool for punishing and deterring such behaviour. But is this recourse to criminalisation really the most appropriate response in this context? The use of criminal law to respond to infectious disease transmission has implications for a number of professional and public organisations.

Dr David Gurnham

My research and teaching has focused on Healthcare Law and Ethics, Criminal Law and Law and Literature, all of which are reflected in my publications to date and work currently in progress.

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