Published December, 2010

HIV Criminalization Fact Sheet, Positive Justice Project (2010)

The Positive Justice Project's HIV Criminalization Fact Sheet provides a quick summary of the facts and issues surrounding HIV criminalization in the United States. Currently there are 32 states and 2 U.S. territories that explicitly criminalize HIV exposure through sex, shared needles, and, in some jurisdictions, through "bodily fluids", including saliva.  In these cases, neither proof of the intent to transmit HIV nor actual transmission is required.  Sentences for HIV-positive persons convicted of HIV exposure are typically very harsh and disproportionate to the actual or potential harm presented in the facts of the case, perpetuating the stigma that HIV-positive people are toxic and dangerous. Studies show that these HIV-specific statutes and prosecutions have absolutely no effect on behavior, and in fact undermine public health goals.

The goal of the Positive Justice Project is to repeal these HIV criminalization statutes and end HIV-specific prosecutions, increased punishment, and government-sponsored discrimination against people with HIV in the criminal justice system.