Contact: Carrie Adams (202) 225-2661
Washington, D.C.— In response to the announcement that the President’s Advisory Council on AIDS (PACHA) Resolution on Ending Federal and State HIV-specific Criminal Laws, Prosecutions, and Civil Commitments, Congresswoman Barbara Lee has released the following statement:
“Today’s announcement is an important advancement in our collective effort to modernize unjust and discriminatory HIV criminalization laws,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee, co-chair of the Congressional HIV/AIDS Caucus.
“I join the President’s Advisory Council on AIDS in calling on the Department of Justice and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention to issue clear guidance to states and public health departments on the counterproductive effects of HIV criminalization policies; we must end this clear discrimination against people living with HIV. Criminalization laws breed fear, discrimination, distrust and hatred, and we must end them.”
Congresswoman Lee is the author of the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act which was endorsed by PACHA as part of the Resolution. The bill creates incentives and support for states to reform existing policies that use legal authority to target people living with HIV for felony charges and severe punishments for behavior that is otherwise legal or that poses no measurable risk of HIV transmission. Lee is also a member of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law which endorsed similar recommendations in a landmark report released July 2012.
“These laws undermine current HIV testing and prevention priorities and must reflect current medical and scientific knowledge and accepted approaches. We are fighting an epidemic, and we must have laws that are rational, holistic, and truly human rights-based.”
Follow Barbara Lee on Facebook and Twitter @RepBarbaraLee. To learn more, visit lee.house.gov.
Congresswoman Lee has been a leader in the fight against the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. She co-authored legislation signed into law creating the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria in 2000, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in 2003, the PEPFAR Reauthorization Act in 2008, and in 2005 legislation addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS. She has also been a leader in the effort to establish a National AIDS Strategy, and is a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, Human Services & Education with jurisdiction over all domestic HIV/AIDS funding. She is the only United States representative on United Nations Development Programme’s Global Commission on HIV and the Law and was the original sponsor of legislation that lead to the repeal of the Immigration and Travel ban that barred the entry of HIV positive individuals. The repeal allowed the International AIDS conference to take place in July 2012 in Washington, D.C., which was held in the U.S. after 20 years.