A majority of states have HIV-specific
criminal laws and continue to criminalize behaviors that pose a low
risk for HIV transmission.
Tuesday's World AIDS Day is dedicated
to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic and mourn those lost to the
December 1 has been designated as World
AIDS Day every year since 1988.
The earliest of these laws dates back
to 1986, when fears about the disease were at their highest.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 33
states have laws that criminalize HIV.
CDC says that 24 states require HIV-positive people to disclose
their status to sexual partners, while other states criminalize
behaviors such as donating organs, tissues or blood. Spitting is a
criminal offense in some states, especially if a prison guard is the
The introduction of antiretroviral
therapies have transformed HIV into a chronic condition that rarely
progresses to AIDS and sharply reduced the risk of transmission.
The HIV Medicine Association (HVMA) of
the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) in 2012 called for
such statutes to be repealed, saying that they were “unjust.”
Such laws, it argued, contribute to the
stigma and discrimination HIV-positive people face.
of doctors unaware of HIV prevention drug Truvada.)