Brazil: HIV-specific criminal law introduced amid media frenzy and moral panic over 'barebacking' gay subculture

Published: March 27, 2015

Original Article:

On April 2nd 2015, a simply worded amendment to Article 1 of Law No. 8072 of July 25, 1990 – covering ‘heinous crimes’ – will be presented to the Brazilian Parliament by the populist Congressman, Pompeo de Mattos.

The amendement, draft Bill No. 198, 2015, would add to the list of heinous crimes – which currently includes murder, extortion, rape, child exploitation and spreading an epidemic that results in death – individuals who “transmit and infect consciously and deliberately others with the AIDS virus. (sic)”.

The bill has considerable support thanks to an outbreak of moral panic that began with an article in the daily newspaper, O Estado de S. Paulo, published on February 22nd, that uncovered the gay ‘barebacking’ subculture and further suggested that some men were deliberately passing on HIV to unsuspecting partners.

Two days later, it was reported in a blog of the weekly magazine, Veja, that police were now looking into the allegations.

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