Disability Law and HIV Criminalization

Over thirty states maintain criminal laws that expressly target people living with HIV. Thousands of people are prosecuted under these statutes, exposing them to decades of incarceration, thousands of dollars in fines, and state-sanctioned stigma. This broad pattern of discrimination based solely on HIV status is not supported by scientific evidence nor public-health rationales. This Note argues that many states’ HIV-specific criminal laws violate the Americans with Disabilities Act’s ban on discrimination by public entities.

When Saliva Is a Crime: Reforming Mississippi’s HIV Criminalization Law Utilizing the Center for Disease Control and Criminalization Law Utilizing the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Policy Analytical Framework

In this study, Mississippi’s existing policy was identified using the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Policy Analytical Framework, and three possible policy options were analyzed and scored based on public health impact, feasibility, and economic and budgetary impact. Results of this analysis strongly indicate that Mississippi Code ANN. § 97-27-14 should be amended to be scientifically accurate and include a criminalization clause based on the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States goals and the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division best practices.

HPV Talking Points – Keep out of the criminal law

HPV Talking points published by the HIV Modernization Movement-Indiana to support advocacy against bill attempting to add HPV to outdated HIV or STD criminal laws (other than the specific epi/medical/testing facts unique to HPV, many of these talking points would apply to attempts to add any additional communicable diseases to these criminal laws).

CSTE Recommendations for Modernization of Laws to Prevent HIV Criminalization

In October 2020, Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists’ Executive Board unanimously approved an interim position statement presenting their recommendations for Modernisation of Laws to Prevent HIV Criminalisation. CSTE strongly opposes any criminalization of HIV exposure or transmission and recommends that all states, U.S. territories, and local jurisdictions eliminate HIV-specific statutes that criminalise HIV, eliminate prosecution of HIV under general statutes and change relevant state and local statutes to specifically prohibit the use of HIV-related, public health data for uses outside of public health purposes.

The Intersection of Syringe Use and HIV Criminalization: An Advocate’s Toolkit

This 2017 toolkit from The Center for HIV Law and Policy (CHLP) and the National LGBTQ Task Force highlights intersections between the criminalisation of injecting drug use and HIV, noting people living with HIV who inject are criminalised in multiple ways including by laws targeting sharing equipment; purchasing, possessing or distributing equipment; drug possession and use; and HIV exposure, non-disclosure and transmission. Notes repeated calls to address substance use as a public health issue, and provides tips to make advocacy more intentional, intersectional, inclusive, and effective.

HIV criminalization exacerbates subpar diagnosis and treatment across the US

Revisits the analysis described in Sweeney et al. (Association of HIV diagnosis rates and laws criminalizing HIV exposure in the United States), but stratifies the diagnosis rate into two response variables: i) the proportion of PLHIV diagnosed, and ii) annual percentage change in HIV prevalence. Counter to the conclusions of Sweeney et al., the researchers’ analyses indicate that laws criminalizing HIV exposure are associated with a lower proportion of HIV diagnosis and increased HIV prevalence.

HIV Criminalization and Sex Work in California

This study analyses the California Department of Justice criminal history data on arrests of people who had felony solicitation while HIV-positive from 2005 to 2013 and compared the demographics and frequencies with arrest data on sex work over the same time period. Findings indicate a clear disproportionate representation of Black women among those arrested for sex work, in the context of HIV and in general.