Resource Logo
CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

UNITED STATES: Barbara Lee Bill Would Push States to Roll Back Criminal HIV Laws


Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) has introduced a bill in the US House of Representatives that would force the repeal or amendment of state and federal laws that make it a crime for HIV-infected people to expose sexual partners to the virus, even if they do not transmit the virus. Many states enacted laws that criminalize intentional HIV transmission to satisfy requirements of the Ryan White Care Act of 1990.

Lee stated that her participation on the United Nations Development Program’s Global Commission on HIV and the Law made her aware of US laws that discriminate against HIV-infected people. For example, people who know they have HIV and expose a partner through unprotected sex without forewarning the partner can go to jail for three to eight years under California’s law. Lee stated that it is against the law in 32 states and 2 US territories for an HIV-infected person to expose another person, even if they do not transmit the virus. The Center for HIV Law and Policy reported at least 350 cases in 36 states where HIV-infected people have been “arrested or prosecuted” for having consensual sex or “biting and spitting.”

Lee unsuccessfully introduced a similar bill in 2011, but H.R. 1843, the Repeal Existing Policies that Encourage and Allow Legal (REPEAL) HIV Discrimination Act, has a Republican co-author, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), which may attract Republican support. The bill places responsibility for monitoring new and existing laws on the US attorney general, the secretary of Defense, and the secretary of Health and Human Services; these agencies also would create a set of best practices for lawmakers.

Read Full Article


Copyright © 2013 -CDC Prevention News Update, Publisher. All rights reserved to Information, Inc., Bethesda, MD. The CDC National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention provides the following information as a public service only. Providing synopses of key scientific articles and lay media reports on HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis does not constitute CDC endorsement. This daily update also includes information from CDC and other government agencies, such as background on Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) articles, fact sheets, press releases and announcements. Reproduction of this text is encouraged; however, copies may not be sold, and the CDC HIV/STD/TB Prevention News Update should be cited as the source of the information. Contact the sources of the articles abstracted below for full texts of the articles.

Information in this article was accurate in May 9, 2013. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.