According to recent analyses, 34 states and two U.S. territories have HIV-specific criminal statutes that criminalize HIV exposure and transmission, and 36 states have reported proceedings in which HIV-positive people have been arrested and/or prosecuted for consensual sex, biting, and spitting. At least 80 such prosecutions have occurred in 2009 and 2010 alone, with communities of color being most impacted.
Please join the Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative in conjunction with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation on Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 2:00pm EST for an important tele-briefing on HIV criminalization in the U.S. with advocates from The Center for HIV Law & Policy (CHLP), The National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) and Harlem United.
On the call, speakers will discuss the experiences of people prosecuted under criminal HIV exposure and transmission laws, the current legal landscape of HIV criminalization, the impact it has on communities of color and HIV prevention efforts and how organizations can become more involved in confronting these injustices. Q&A will follow the presentations:
WHEN: March 16 at 2:00pm EST
WHO: Presentations, lively discussion, and resources featuring:
The Honorable Barbara Lee (CA-09)
Catherine Hanssens, Executive Director, Center for HIV Law and Policy
Vanessa Johnson, Executive Vice President, NAPWA
Kali Lindsey, Senior Director for Federal Policy, Harlem United
Please email RSVP@CBCFinc.org for call-in number details. Please include your name and organization.
If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Fager Bediako, CBCF Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative at LBediako@cbcfinc.org or call 202-253-0435.
Tele-briefing Background Information:
The Center for HIV Law and Policy in collaboration with 40 other organizations recently launched the Positive Justice Project, a community-driven, multidisciplinary collaboration to repeal HIV criminalization statutes and end HIV-specific prosecutions, increased punishment, and government-sponsored discrimination against people with HIV in the criminal justice system.
The Center recently released the first comprehensive analysis of HIV-specific criminal laws and prosecutions in the United States. The publication, Ending and Defending Against HIV Criminalization: State and Federal Laws and Prosecutions, covers policies and cases in all 50 states, the military, federal prisons and U.S. territories and is intended to be used as a resource for lawyers and community advocates on the laws, cases, and trends that define HIV criminalization in the United States.
Some examples of recent prosecutions discussed in CHLP's manual include:
- A man with HIV in Texas is serving 35 years for spitting at a police officer;
- A man with HIV in Iowa, who had an undetectable viral load, received a 25-year sentence after a one-time sexual encounter during which he used a condom; his sentence was suspended, but he had to register as a sex-offender and is not allowed unsupervised contact with his nieces, nephews and other young children;
- A woman with HIV in Georgia received an eight-year sentence for failing to disclose her HIV status, despite the trial testimony of two witnesses that her sexual partner was aware of her HIV positive status;
- A man with HIV in Michigan was charged under the state's anti-terrorism statute with possession of a "biological weapon" after he allegedly bit his neighbor.
In solidarity, Act Against AIDS Leadership Initiative Partners:
- 100 Black Men of America
- American Urban Radio Networks
- Aspira Association
- Black Men's Xchange
- Black Women's Health Imperative
- Congressional Black Caucus Foundation
- Farmworker Justice
- International Federation of Black Prides
- National Action Network
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
- National Council of Negro Women
- National Hispanic Council on Aging
- National Medical Association
- National Newspaper Publishers Association Foundation
- National Organization of Black County Officials
- National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives
- National Urban League
- Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority
- Southern Christian Leadership Foundation