REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act

115th Congress: H.R. 1739; S. 2186

The Problem

Currently, perceived HIV exposure is criminalized in 32 states and two U.S. territories. These laws were originally intended to address the actions of individuals that intentionally infect others with HIV, but have been applied far beyond that limited purpose. The behaviors criminalized in many of these laws pose little risk of HIV transmission and therefore should not place individuals living with HIV in danger of felony charges and harsh penalties greatly disproportionate to the potential harm.  Furthermore, because knowledge of one’s HIV status is used in many cases as evidence for conviction, these laws discourage individuals from getting tested and contribute to the spread of HIV.

What is the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act?

The REPEAL (Repeal Existing Policies that Encourage and Allow Legal) HIV Discrimination Act would require a review of federal and state laws that impose criminal liability on individuals with HIV.  This review would include federal, state and local stakeholders including the U.S. Attorney General, the Department of Health and Human Services, state public health officials, HIV advocacy organizations and people living with HIV.  This bill would also provide states with guidance on best practices for revising these discriminatory laws.

Public Health Support

Despite societal progress in understanding HIV, people living with the virus still regularly encounter stigma, stereotyping and discrimination.  The REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act would help fight discrimination in civil and criminal law against people living with HIV.  That is why it is supported by AIDS United, the HIV Justice Network, the AIDS Institute, the Drug Policy Alliance, the American Psychological Association and the Ryan White Medical Providers Coalition.

What was the Status of the Bill in the 115th Congress?

The REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) on March 27, 2017, and in the Senate by Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) on December 4, 2017.


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Last Updated: December 21, 2018