February 28 marks the second annual HIV is Not a Crime Awareness Day (#HINACDay2023 and #HIVIsNotaCrime), first observed as a collaboration in 2022 between the Sero Project and the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation.
According to their website, the organization is currently supporting efforts in nine states (and counting) that support outdated laws in HIV criminalization that were put into place more than 35 years ago at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The unfair criminalization laws have most affected the Black, Latinx, LGBTQ+, and female-identifying populations. These marginalized groups have been punished based on their HIV status rather than their actions. The laws still allow for HIV-positive people to be sentenced to prison for things like not disclosing their status, even when HIV isn’t transmittable.
The second annual HIV Is Not a Crime Awareness Day — formerly known as HIV Criminalization Day — has a number of nationwide events to mark the occasion, many of which can be viewable online.
Already online is a virtual roundtable from the evening of February 27, where Mandisa Moore-O’Neal, Executive Director at the Center for HIV Law & Policy, led a discussion about the dangers of living as a Black cis and trans woman with HIV in the United States.
In partnership with ChangeLab Solutions and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an online webinar on February 28 at 10 AM PST/1 PM EST will bring together a dynamic team of experts at the forefront of the HIV battle to discuss the importance of decriminalization and the CDC’s new HIV Criminalization Legal and Policy Assessment tool.
You can register for the webinar here, or catch the replay on the website later on.
Additionally, a Change.org petition calls for signatures to help fully decriminalize HIV in the 30 states that still hold anti-HIV laws.