Published December, 2023
The United States’ Findings and Conclusions Based on its Investigation of the State of Tennessee and the Shelby County District Attorney General’s Office under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, DJ No. 204-70-85, DOJ (2023)
In response to a complaint filed by CHLP in January 2022, the U.S. Justice Department found that the State of Tennessee violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by enforcing the state’s aggravated prostitution statute against people living with HIV.
The complaints marked the first time the ADA was used to challenge HIV criminal laws as a violation of federal laws that prohibit disability-based discrimination.
"The aggravated prostitution statute does not require any individualized determinations. It is a blanket criminalization of people living with HIV, which is not grounded in current medical knowledge. Laws that facially discriminate against people with disabilities, like the aggravated prostitution statute, violate Title II of the ADA, and the SCDAG and the State must cease enforcing it."
According to the 11-page findings letter, the DOJ’s next steps will be to work with the State and the Shelby County District Attorney’s office toward a voluntary resolution. If a resolution is not possible, the DOJ may file litigation.
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