Objective To examine the views of educated people in Togo on the acceptability of criminal prosecution of a male partner for sexual transmission of infectious diseases (STIDs) to his female partner.
Methods 199 adults living in Kara, Togo judged acceptability of criminal prosecution for STID in 45 scenarios composed of combinations of five factors: (a) severity of disease; (b) awareness and communication of one's serological status; (c) partners’ marital status; (d) number of sexual partners the female partner has and (e) male partner's subsequent attitude (supportive or not).
Results Acceptability was lower (a) when the male partner decided to take care of his female partner he had infected than when he decided to leave, (b) when both partners were informed but decided not to take precautions than when none of them was informed or when only the male partner was informed and (c) when the female partner has had several male sexual partners than when she has had only one. Two qualitatively different views were identified. For 66% of participants, when the male partner accepts to take care of his partner, he should not be sued, except when he did not disclose his serological status. For 34%, when both partners were informed, the male partner should not be sued, irrespective of other circumstances.
Conclusions Regarding criminal prosecution for STID, most people in the sample endorsed the position of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS that urges governments not to apply criminal law to cases where sexual partners disclosed their status or were not informed of it.
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