Published on Mar 4, 2016 - These outdated laws are counterproductive and threaten public health. Read the full transcript below.
March 4, 2016
ZACK FORD, ThinkProgress: 33 states have laws that criminalize HIV. These laws, most of which date back to the height of the AIDS epidemic, mean that someone with HIV can be sent to jail for having any sexual contact without disclosing their status.
A recent study from the University of Minnesota found that most men who have sex with men didn't even know if their state had a law.
Basically, men are having condomless anal sex at the same rate, whether there's a law or not.However, those who believed their states criminalize HIV actually engaged in more risky behavior.
And that's not all...
Two earlier studies found that these laws disincentivize people from getting tested in order to avoid liability. That makes it even harder to fight the epidemic.
It's not just that the laws don't work. They're totally outdated. For example, we now know that treatment significantly reduces the risk of transmitting the virus.
These laws don't have anything to do with promoting public health -- we're just convicting people living with HIV for having a sex life. Isn't that something?