After over 30 years of HIV research and advancements to prevent and treat HIV transmission, many state laws do not reflect our current understanding of HIV. Since 2014, 5 states have modernized their HIV criminalization laws to align with current scientific understanding.
Under existing laws in many states, PWH can be criminalized for potentially exposing others to HIV, intent or actual transmission of HIV is not required. Moreover, HIV criminalization laws were enacted before the availability of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Many of these laws have not been updated since these developments either.
As of 2020, 21 states require PWH who are aware of their status, to disclose their status to their sex partners. This carries forward stigma toward PWH and ignores one’s medical privacy, particularly for those who are virally suppressed. Moreover, 13 states have maximum sentence lengths of more than 10 years for “potential HIV exposure,” even though PWH might have taken measures to prevent transmission. Just 9 states provide defenses for taking measures to prevent HIV transmission, such as condom use, PrEP, and viral suppression. Much of these laws carry forward stigma towards PWH, discourage HIV testing and continue the narrative of HIV as a death-sentence, and exacerbate disparities.
Since 2014, at least 5 states have modernized their HIV criminalization laws to align with current scientific understanding. California, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, and North Carolina have accomplished this though: requiring intent or actual transmission of HIV; providing defense for those who took HIV prevention measures; and moving laws around HIV exposure from the criminal code to statutes on infectious diseases or on controlling communicable diseases.
We encourage providers to understand Wisconsin’s HIV criminalization laws, as Wisconsin is one of 11 states that criminalizes potential HIV exposure through STD or Infectious Diseases statutes. Fortunately, the CDC has indexed each state’s HIV laws, including Wisconsin’s HIV laws.
HIV testing can serve as an entry point for HIV prevention and care services and can normalize HIV testing. A recent article in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report looked at HIV testing trends in the U.S. for people with Medicaid or commercial insurance from 2014-2019. They found HIV testing in clinical settings must increase threefold if we are to achieve EHE goals. Learn what HIV testing trends they found, and what this data means for achieving EHE goals.
Wednesday, September 1, 2021
- NIH updates Interim Guidance for COVID-19 and Persons with HIV.
- HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute press release: federal government issues guidance to insurers on obligation to fully cover PrEP and associated services.
- AIDS and Behavior publishes article on Potential of PrEP for HIV Prevention in a Community Sample of Persons Who Use Stimulants Living in the Southern United States.
- SAMHSA provides fact sheet Tips for Teens: The Truth About HIV.
- FDA fully approves Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
- CDC updates Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Authorized in the United States.
- WI DHS offers additional COVID-19 dose to those immunocompromised people per CDC’s recommendation.
- New England Journal of Medicine publishes article on Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy in BIPOC Communities.
- WI DHS finds spike in adult and congenital syphilis cases in Wisconsin.
- WI DHS releases Wisconsin 2020 Hepatitis C Virus Surveillance Review.
- WI DHS piloting new model to improve SUD treatment services in Wisconsin.