This advocacy letter, submitted by a coalition of community and advocacy organizations to New York City Mayor de Blasio, urges the mayor to issue an executive order prohibiting the practice by police and prosecutors of citing condom possession as evidence of intent to engage in wrongdoing, including prostitution-related crimes. The advocacy letter explains that allowing condoms to be used as evidence of wrongdoing is contrary to sound public health policy that encourages New Yorkers to carry and use condoms to reduce the transmission of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. The letter cites a study that found that some New Yorkers have, at some point, not carried a condom in fear of police harassment or criminal prosecution. As the mayor contemplates reforms to discriminatory law enforcement practices which undermine public safety in New York City, the letter urges the mayor to take action by issuing an executive order prohibiting the New York Police Department from confiscating, collecting, or vouchering condoms as evidence in support of prostitution-related charges. The Center for HIV Law and Policy (CHLP) joined this advocacy effort.
CHLP fights stigma and discrimination at the intersection of HIV, race, health status, disability, class, sexuality and gender identity and expression, with a focus on criminal and public health systems. As part of this work, we support movement building that amplifies the power of individuals and communities to mobilize for change rooted in racial, gender and economic justice. We do this through legal advocacy, high-impact policy initiatives, and creation of cross-issue partnerships, networks, and resources.