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Angela Webb, Body Positive
"We feel there's huge gaps in the education of the public as it stands"
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Friday, 23 February, 2001, 17:49 GMT
Fears for sufferers after HIV verdict
Isolation graphic
Campaigners fear sufferers could be further stigmatised
Campaigners have expressed concern that a man's conviction for recklessly infecting a former partner with HIV could create further stigma for sufferers.

They said the high profile case of Stephen Kelly could also deter people who fear that they have HIV going forward for tests.

Angela Webb, of the Aids counselling service Body Positive, said Kelly's conviction for deliberately infecting former partner Anne Craig could lead to the misguided impression that HIV was being criminalised.

HIV ribbon
The case has put HIV and Aids back in the news
She said: "We're concerned that people who might feel that they need to be tested because they have put themselves at risk won't get tested.

"They will go on not knowing and not being sure of that because of the discrimination and stigmatisation and now the possible criminalisation."

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland's Newsdrive programme, Ms Webb said the case at the High Court in Glasgow would be a setback in educating the public about the risks of HIV and Aids.

"We feel there's huge gaps in the education of the public as it stands but looking at this possible criminalisation does make it much more difficult for us to move forward and remove this stigma," she said.

Ms Webb said she did not want to get into the specifics on the court case.

However, she called on the government to invest more money in education programmes to "get rid of the stigma" surrounding HIV and Aids.

Previous campaigns had focused too much on the effect of the conditions on gay people, when the heterosexual was equally affected, she said.

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See also:

22 Feb 01 | Scotland
'No crime' claim in HIV trial
21 Feb 01 | Scotland
Court hears HIV 'admission'
20 Feb 01 | Scotland
Woman 'did not condemn' HIV man
16 Feb 01 | Scotland
Woman denies knowing man had HIV
15 Feb 01 | Scotland
Boyfriend revealed he had HIV
14 Feb 01 | Scotland
HIV man 'given safe sex warning'
13 Feb 01 | Scotland
HIV 'infection' trial begins
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