The Center for HIV Law and Policy joined with a group of almost twenty other organizations and individuals in endorsing this statement sent to Douglas Brooks, Director, and the Office of National AIDS Policy, recommending critical updates to the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS).
Issued in 2010, the original NHAS and accompanying implementation plan was the first federal government document to identify HIV criminal laws as a symptom and driver of stigma that discourages testing and engagement in health care. Its publication represented an extremely important step towards a more forward-thinking, nationally collaborative approach to addressing the HIV epidemic in the United States.
The statement of recommendations asks the NHAS to advance those initial steps by more explicitly addressing the significant obstacle posed by widespread sexual health illiteracy-the profound ignorance about both the routes, risks and realities of HIV transmission, and about sexual orientation, gender identity and the unique form of bias that transgender individuals experience in seeking sexual health and HIV care.
Further, it asks that the NHAS follow up its recognition of the problem of HIV criminalization by identifying those ways in which various federal agencies can support the goal of modernization of criminal statutes.