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HIV Disclosure Laws to Be Studied

HIV Disclosure Laws to Be Studied

The Medical College of Wisconsin's Center for AIDS Intervention Research has received a five-year, $2.5 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to investigate the impact of criminal HIV-disclosure laws.

Carol L. Galletly, JD, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral medicine at CAIR, is the principal investigator for the grant.

Galletly's project, "A Multi-State Analysis of the Impact of HIV Exposure Laws," will examine the controversial issue of the criminalization of undisclosed exposure to HIV. Currently, about half of the states in the United States have specific laws that require persons living with HIV to disclose their status to prospective sex partners. The laws ideally should complement HIV prevention efforts, but little is known about their effectiveness. This study will help determine how these laws are perceived by people living with HIV and people at risk of HIV infection. The study will help determine whether the laws are effective in reducing the spread of HIV and whether the laws have any unanticipated negative consequences for HIV prevention efforts.

Results of this study will help inform HIV-related legislation, which is often drafted without the benefit of scientific evidence. Results will also inform policy discussions on the role of the criminal law in disease containment efforts.

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