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 disease.

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.

The 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 target.

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Medicine Association (HVMA) of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) in 2012 called for such statutes to be repealed, saying that they were “unjust.”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.

(Related: One-third of doctors unaware of HIV prevention drug Truvada.)