Under (de)Construction

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This film discusses the criminalization of HIV status. 36 U.S. states and territories have HIV-specific statutes, which are often used to criminalize behavior like spitting and biting 25% of the time. A new law was proposed in Maryland this month.

This is a controversial topic, but these laws can also further marginalize and criminalize targeted groups such as LGBT folks, minorities and women. These groups are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS, disproportionately in contact with the criminal justice system, and less likely than other groups to get needed medical care. All of these things would be exaceberated by these laws because they would hinder people’s deserve to know and disclose their status to potential partners, and therefore put more people at risk and increase the number of people who are potentially┬ájailed and marked for their HIV status.

These laws create a second-class of citizens, with some states requiring people with HIV status to register as sex offenders (which also means they cannot be within a certain distance from children), wear tracking devices, and be denied access to social networks and other privileges that are in no way connected to the disease.

How can we not only fight HIV/AIDS transmission, but embrace those who are currently infected if we criminalize their very existence?

Filed under HIV/AIDS criminal justice system women minorities testing