December 1, 2022 marked World AIDS Day with events and commemorations happening across the country and around the globe. In New York City, CHLP's Chief Strategy Advisor Catherine Hanssens participated in a Rally Against HIV Criminalization that was held and the NYC AIDS Memorial. The rally was one of many commemorations held at the memorial and was hosted by Talia Mota, PhD, MPH, with the help of her students at Fordham University. In Dr. Mota’s class, People and the Living Environment, she teaches concepts of science and societal impact.
CHLP also endorsed H.R.9402, The Equity in STD Testing Act, legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on World AIDS Day by Rep. Nikema Williams (GA-5). Williams' district in Georgia has one of the highest STI rates in the country. The legislation is a step toward making it possible for everyone to get tested for STIs regardless of age, economic and insurance status by eliminating cost-sharing associated with testing.
In the news, The Guardian published a World AIDS Day feature on the devastating effects of HIV criminalization: ‘I lost my retirement, my career, my home’: the Americans imprisoned for being HIV-positive. The article focuses on the stories of Robert Suttle, Ken Pinkela, and Lashanda Salinas, all of whom have experienced the harsh penalties associated with these criminal laws, including mandatory sex offender registration. CHLP Executive Director S. Mandisa Moore-O'Neal was quoted in the article on the urgency of meaningful criminal law reform, "If we are serious about ending the epidemic, we must update these laws, including repeal if we can ensure that what is created in their place won’t have to be reformed 10 years from now."