Target: Buck McKeon, Fred Upton and Bob Goodlatte, House Armed Services, House Energy and Commerce and the committee on House Judiciary chairmen
Goal: Stop using criminal law to target people living with HIV
The REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act is a bill that creates incentives and support for states to reform existing policies that use criminal law to target people living with HIV. Often HIV-positive people receive felony charges and severe punishments for behavior that is otherwise legal or that poses no measurable risk of HIV transmission. This bill needs to be passed and signed into law to ensure lawful, respectful and safe treatment of people living with HIV.
In the HIV Discrimination Act, REPEAL stands for “Repeal Existing Policies that Encourage and Allow Legal” discrimination. Often people who have disclosed to be HIV-positive are targeted for legal actions, such as consensual sex between adults, and prosecuted based on outdated beliefs about the transmission of HIV. 34 states and 2 U.S. territories have criminal statutes based on perceived exposure to HIV, and such prosecutions have happened in at least 39 states. The problem is the fact that behavior with the intent to maliciously transmit HIV is extremely rare and innocent people are criminally charged for legal activities.
As a result of widespread ignorance about the transmission of HIV, human body fluids, such as the blood, semen and saliva of HIV-positive people, are viewed as “deadly weapons”. As a result of this perception, HIV-positive people have been charged with aggravated assault, attempted murder and bioterrorism. In reality, most people diagnosed with HIV behave responsibly to prevent further transmission.
The REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act will require designated officials, such as Attorney General, the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Defense, to assist state legislators with reviewing federal and state laws and policies. Moreover, it would require the monitoring of state policy changes according to guidelines and develop a set of best practices for the treatment of HIV in criminal and civil commitment cases. The Senate committees on House Armed Services, House Energy and Commerce and the committee on House Judiciary are deciding on passing this bill onto the Senate. Please sign this petition to urge their chairmen to pass the bill.
Dear Buck McKeon, Fred Upton and Bob Goodlatte,
The House Armed Services subcommittee on Military Personnel, the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Health and the House Judiciary subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations have the power to pass the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act onto the Senate. This bill is extremely important in providing civil and legal rights to HIV-positive people who are often prosecuted for aggravated assault, attempted murder and even bioterrorism for engaging in otherwise legal activities on the basis of their diagnosed illness.
I urge you to pass this bill onto the Senate to further the process of its potential signing into law and provide federal protection for HIV-positive people. Those with HIV behave responsibly to prevent further transmission and intentional HIV transmission is very rare. Do not let them be prosecuted for their illness.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Andy McCarthy via Flickr