Policy & Politics

National Organization Adds Voice Against HIV-Specific Criminal Laws

March 24, 2011

The National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) is voicing its opposition to the HIV-specific criminal laws on the books in 34 states and two US territories.

"HIV criminalization has often resulted in egregious human rights violations, including harsh sentencing for behaviors that pose little to no risk of HIV transmission," said a statement by NASTAD, which is composed of top state and territory public health officials who are tasked with addressing the epidemic.

NASTAD said that as a member of the Positive Justice Project, initiated by the Center for HIV Law & Policy (CHLP), it is committed to the following:

  • Supporting HIV testing and medical record confidentiality as a way to encourage testing and treatment efforts.
  • Identifying and sharing best practices related to successes in repealing criminalization laws that are not grounded in public health science.
  • Promoting public education and understanding of the stigma and negative health consequences of criminalization laws and prosecutions.
  • Providing strong public health leadership on the relative transmission risks and the dangers that punitive responses pose to the epidemic.

NASTAD's members "are the public health professionals who are close to the epidemic, and they know first-hand how powerfully stigma drives HIV transmission, and they recognize how HIV criminalization drives stigma," said Sean Strub, the founding publisher of POZ magazine and senior fellow at CHLP. "Their statement will send a powerful message to legislators, prosecutors and others who, whether out of ignorance, fear, ambition or vengeance, promote HIV criminalization."

To view the full statement, visit

Back to other news for March 2011

Adapted from:
Michigan Messenger
03.15.2011; Todd A. Heywood

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.

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