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This book sheds new light on the complex relationship between criminal liability, sexuality and public health in the era of Aids. It analyses, in particular, the role of public health arguments, and the language of ‘sexual rights’, in legal struggles aimed at decriminalising certain forms of ‘risky’ sexual conduct.
Addressing gay sex, paid sex, and sex carried out by people living with HIV and Aids, the book demonstrates how public health experts are increasingly arguing that the criminal laws used to regulate these areas of behaviour should be abandoned in order to reduce the stigma and discrimination experienced by the ‘risky’ sexual populations that they target. In so doing, it is argued, the ability of those populations to protect themselves and others from infection with HIV is increased, whilst also making it easier for clinicians and sexual health workers to help manage those risks.
Integrating queer theory with other Foucault-inspired critical interventions, this book builds upon recent conversations between queer theory, feminism and postcolonial studies in order to contend that the use of public health arguments aimed at decriminalising sexual conduct creates new opportunities, but also new challenges, for contemporary sexual movements.