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House Introduces Bill to Modernize HIV/AIDS Laws

April 5, 2017

Last week, House HIV Caucus Co-Chairs Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) reintroduced the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act 2017, which would modernize laws and policies to eliminate discrimination against those living with HIV and AIDS.

The bipartisan REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act (H.R. 1739) requires the Attorney General, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Secretary of Defense to:

Work with state stakeholders (i.e., state attorneys' general, public health officials, people living with HIV, legal advocacy and service organizations) to review laws, policies and cases that impose criminal liability on people living with HIV;

  • Develop a set of best practices for the treatment of HIV in criminal and civil commitment cases;
  • Issue guidance to states based on those best practices; and
  • Monitor whether and how states change policies consistent with that guidance.

In more than 30 states, people living with HIV may face harsh penalties, including imprisonment, if a partner accuses them of withholding their HIV status. There's no proof these laws work, and they run counter to public health by perpetuating stigma and subsequently deterring people from getting tested or treated for HIV. Modernizing these outdated state and federal laws to be consistent with with the current, scientific realities of HIV is a priority for HRC in our work to end the HIV and AIDS epidemic.

HRC applauds Reps. Lee and Ros-Lehtinen for their continued leadership on this critical issue. To read more about our work on this issue, click here.

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This article was provided by Human Rights Campaign. Visit Human Rights Campaign's website to find out more about their activities and publications.

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