We Know All We Need To Know To End The HIV Epidemic. Here’s Why It Continues.

I had a friend in Atlanta who died in the hospital last year of Pneumocystis pneumonia as if it was 1986. He died because he was afraid to take an HIV test.

HIV is more treatable and more preventable than ever before, but public perception of the virus is not keeping up. In fact, some advocates argue that because people living with HIV are less visible — because they’re leading healthy, functional lives like everybody else — stigma against people living with HIV is actually as problematic as ever.

In many ways, the growing body of knowledge about the virus should be alleviating this stigma:


In Dem primary, HIV criminalization remains an orphan issue

DES MOINES, Iowa — As the Democratic primary heats up, Hillary Clinton and Bernard Sanders are seeking to gain traction by expressing support for LGBT rights — and to some extent by vowing to combat HIV/AIDS. But one related issue that remains untouched by either candidate is HIV criminalization laws.

In 32 states, there are laws criminalizing perceived exposure to HIV, regardless of the actual risk of transmission, and 13 states have laws criminalizing certain acts — like spitting — by people with HIV/AIDS, even though they can't transmit the disease through saliva. These laws have resulted in lengthy jail sentences for people with HIV, and in some cases forced those convicted onto the sex offender registry.


Different approaches to drug policy and the Asian HIV epidemic

Following the recent launch of the series 'Harm reduction in Asia and the Pacific', Dr. Alex Wodak, President of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation, here writes a very honest account of efforts to control HIV among and from people who inject drugs in Asia.

A quarter of a century ago, Asia and the Pacific, home to almost half the population of the planet, were at great risk of a generalized HIV epidemic starting among people who inject drugs.

Just imagine what the health, social and economic costs of that would have been! Thailand had already become the first developing country in the world to experience a generalized HIV epidemic.


Criminal laws on HIV transmission make little difference to sexual behaviour – or may make condomless sex more likely

Roger Pebody

A study comparing the sexual behaviour of American gay men living in states with or without laws that criminalise HIV transmission has found very little variation by state, suggesting that legislation has minimal impact on public health. Or the law may be counter-productive – men who believed they lived in a state which criminalised HIV transmission were slightly more likely to have sex without a condom, the researchers report in AIDS & Behavior.

A handful of previous studies have shown that laws make little impact on the frequency with which people with diagnosed HIV disclose their status.


HIV exposure law unjustly applies sex offender status, advocates say

As the deadline loomed for Aaliyah to send out notices of her sex-offender status, she had two choices.

She could stay at Covenant House with a roof over her head and a structured environment geared toward helping her turn her life around. But if she couldn't find the $1,200 to pay for the notices, she could be sent to prison.

If she left, Aaliyah would have to couch surf or find some rent money, but it would reset the 21-day notification clock, putting off the threat of jail for another few weeks.

She chose to leave.