The present study was conducted to identify the understanding of people living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) regarding applying the law around the transmission of HIV in England and Wales.

Researchers designed the questionnaire to prompt participants attending a large HIV department to discuss their understanding of the law concerning HIV transmission. The design focused on qualitative analysis as there was insufficient data available to inform a metric reflecting quantitative data on PLWHA’s understanding of the legal implications of transmission.

Researchers did data collection from PLWHA attending their HIV outpatient appointment to ensure the population’s relevance to the analysis. The answers were analyzed using grounded theory and thematic analysis to identify key themes and views for further testing.

The analysis demonstrated that understanding legal obligations and outcomes of prosecutions was poor and patchy, with behavioral restrictions often overstated. There was a strong theme of ownership of responsibility amongst PLWHA and reference to morality principles beyond legal limits.

The study concluded that PLWHA remains at risk of prosecution through the poor understanding of the law. Clinical services and advocacy agencies should increase knowledge to enable PLWHA to comprehend the law and negotiate it successfully.