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Congress to Consider Law to Stop Criminalizing HIV Transmission

Congress to Consider Law to Stop Criminalizing HIV Transmission

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U.S. representative Barbara Lee of California will introduce a bill in September that would launch a review of all federal and state laws that criminalize people who transmit HIV.

The bill, called the Repeal HIV Discrimination Act, would require the attorney general and secretary of Health and Human Services to create guidelines for making state and federal governments' policies less discriminatory. According to AIDS service agency Housing Works, 34 states currently have laws that carry penalties for exposing others to HIV.

The laws in question are the ones that place an additional burden on HIV-positive people because of their HIV status and those that are not consistent with evidence-based, medically accurate public health initiatives, according to the report.

“The passage of this bill will make it safer for people with HIV to disclose their status, and it will remove an important barrier to those at risk from getting tested,” said Sean Strub, cofounder of the Positive Justice Project, which works to combat HIV-related discrimination in the justice system. “The result will be less transmission of HIV.”

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