National Call to End HIV Criminal Laws Gains Momentum

 

NATIONAL CALL TO END HIV CRIMINAL LAWS GAINS MOMENTUM

More than 1000 Agencies and Individuals Ask States to

Modernize Criminal Law Treatment of HIV and Other Infectious Diseases

New York, NY – Today, the Positive Justice Project (PJP), a national coalition working to end HIV-specific felony laws in the United States, announced that more than 1,000 organizations and individuals across the country have endorsed a National Consensus Statement on the Criminalization of HIV in the United States calling for the end of such laws. HIV-specific felony laws are based on outdated beliefs about HIV, how it is transmitted, and the consequences of living with HIV. The laws single out individuals who, following public health messages, get tested for HIV. The PJP Consensus Statement outlines ways that laws and practices could be modernized to reflect current science and knowledge about HIV.

Currently, 32 states have HIV-related criminal laws that target low-risk or otherwise legal behavior of people who test positive for HIV for exposing or failing to disclose their HIV status to others. 

Recent developments such as the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS’ (PACHA) Resolution on Ending Federal and State HIV-Specific Criminal Laws, Prosecutions, and Civil Commitments, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s guidance to states on HIV-related criminal laws, titled “Best Practices Guide to Reform HIV-Specific Criminal Laws to Align with Scientifically-Supported Factors,” reflect a growing consensus on the need to reform criminal law treatment of HIV and other infectious diseases.

National medical and public health organizations have endorsed the PJP Consensus Statement. The  American Medical Association (AMA), the HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA), and the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) have also issued their own policy statements against HIV-related criminal laws.

PJP is releasing a Spanish version of the Consensus Statement, titled “Declaración de Consenso Sobre la Criminalización del VIH,” to engage a broader range of organizations and community members in fact-based policy discussions about the nature and consequences of HIV-related criminal laws on individuals and their communities. For more information or to endorse the PJP Consensus Statement, please contact programassociate@hivlawandpolicy.org.