Main | Monday, September 26, 2011

Rep. Barbara Lee Introduces Bill To Decriminalize Exposure To HIV

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) has introduced a bill that could eventually force the repeal of laws that criminalize exposing others to HIV. Jilted lovers and angry spouses have often been thought to falsely tell authorities that they were never informed of their partner's HIV status.
The bill, called the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act, calls for a review of all federal and state laws, policies and regulations regarding the criminal prosecution of individuals for HIV-related offenses. It then creates incentives for governments to reform existing policies that use the law to target HIV-positive people. Introduced Thursday, the legislation “relies on science and public health, rather than punishment, as the lead response to HIV exposure and transmission incidents,” said Catherine Hanssens, executive director of the New York-based Center for HIV Law and Policy.
In some of the 34 states with HIV exposure laws, a conviction results in permanent classification as a sex offender and a prison sentence of up to 30 years. The above-linked article from Housing Works will help you understand how troublesome the HIV exposure laws can be.

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