"These laws are archaic. They're criminalizing a population of people who should not be criminalized," said Representative Barbara Lee, D-CA, in an Associated Press article yesterday. CHLP Executive Director Catherine Hanssens blames the longevity of the laws on "a seemingly invincible ignorance" about HIV transmission. The article highlights Rep. Lee's REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act, the first piece of federal legislation to call for an evaluation of all federal and state laws, policies, and regulations regarding the criminal prosecution of individuals for HIV-related offenses.
The article prominently features the Positive Justice Project's efforts in support of reforming HIV-specific statutes, with references to the multiple flaws of HIV criminalization, including the lack of proof of intent to harm or transmit HIV which characterizes HIV-specific prosecutions, and widespread ignorance about the actual routes and risks of transmission.
This article reflects the growing visibility of the criminalization issue nationally, and the need for continuing advocacy and education on the realities of HIV transmission, the current-day consequences of living with HIV, and the discriminatory nature of HIV-specific criminal laws.