July 15, 2013
The Sero Project and the Transgender Law Center surveyed HIV-infected people in the United States to determine the effect of disclosure laws on HIV testing and treatment. According to the National HIV Criminalization Survey, 58 percent of transgender and third sex-identified HIV-infected people avoided HIV testing for fear of prosecution. Sixty-one percent viewed fear of prosecution as a reason not to disclose HIV status to a sexual partner, and 48 percent indicated they would avoid treatment for fear of prosecution.
Those surveyed reported they lacked clarity about offenses that could result in arrest, did not trust the court system, and had little knowledge of disclosure laws or the likelihood of prosecution for failure to disclose their HIV status. Although many states required HIV-infected people to disclose HIV status to others or face punishment, states in the Midwest and South enforced these laws more aggressively. Participants from these regions were more mistrustful of the criminal justice system and less likely to have HIV testing; those from the Northwest were less likely to know about their states' disclosure laws. Only 15 percent of HIV-infected transgender people believed that HIV-infected persons could receive fair treatment in the criminal justice system.