The scales of Hiv Criminalization

This topic is a hard one to digest, even harder to meditate on, events are moving in a way that we need to really adress Hiv, not just about testing I will get to that in another post, I want to take time out in several postings to really focus on the chains that have dragged normal everyday people with hiv to hell in a manner of speaking.

Imagine a world where having hiv is just the beginning of the many changes of that will effect your life, now there is medication that hopefully you won’t have to many side effects from. You change your everyday life to keep yourself going. Looking for a community that you can share your experiences with, to keep you from feeling alone in your struggles. You get to that place where your ready to step out into the world and date and try and love again. Little do you know there are obstacles in place that can and will change your life if you turn the corner and it greats you in the face like an IRS audit.

When Ryan White came into existence, right after it in the scare of a global epidemic of Hiv and Aids came the Hiv Criminalization laws. Now these very laws have turned some minor offenses into groundbreaking means to put people in prison for the rest of their lives virtually burying people with no hope of understanding or real common sense context, as to what hiv was then and what it is now. These laws have not changed since they were birthed into our America, they still do a great deal of harm. Maybe you have heard the stories, from a homeless man spitting on an officer to a simple random encounter have had their lives assassinated.

Currently there are 67 laws specifically on hiv, in 35 states 24 of them require by law that you disclose your status if you are aware that you have hiv, 14 of these also cover sharing needles in 29 if convicted it’s a felony. OK let’s move forward, here is how the law in our country view the transmission of hiv on the same level of assult, attempted murder, manslaughter and murder, some even having to register as a sex offender after all is said and done.

Upon some research at lawatlas.org i found that it breaks down the criminal sentencing one could face, really depending on the state you face a misdemeanor to a felony, go It can range from 6 months to life in prison. In some states it permits enhanced sentencing basically meaning that they impose more than the usual sentencing based on the nature of the case. In my next post I would like to do more research and break down all the states and how their laws effect you and your hiv status.

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