Post submitted by Noël Gordon, former HRC Senior Program Specialist for HIV Prevention and Health Equity.
In a statement released earlier today, the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) called on “federal, state, and local governments to put an end to the use of criminal law to target the conduct of people living with HIV and other diseases.” EJAF Chairman David Furnish pointed to the negative impact these laws have on public health and the real and lasting harm done to people living with and affected by HIV.
Today’s statement builds on decades of advocacy by EJAF and dozens of advocates and organizations that have come out in opposition to existing HIV disclosure laws, including the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS, the U.S. Department of Justice, the American Medical Association, the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors and the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
HIV and LGBT advocates have been especially vocal about the disproportionate impact these laws have on marginalized communities. HRC recently joined the Center for HIV Law and Policy (CHLP) and other organizations in signing onto an amicus brief on behalf of Michael Johnson, a former Missouri college student sentenced to more than 30 years for allegedly violating Missouri’s HIV transmission and exposure statute.
Johnson’s case underscores the continued the importance of campaigns like #EndBadHIVLaws, a joint campaign by HRC, CHLP, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights that raises awareness about these laws and equips advocates with new tools to engage in continued public education and outreach.