Nav view search

Navigation

Search

AIDS ACTIVISTS DRESSED IN ORANGE PRISON JUMPSUITS FLOOD SITE OF PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE: DEMAND AN END TO HIV CRIMINALIZATION

Media Advisory
For Immediate Release
Contact:

Megan Mulholland, 917-825-6342,

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Terri Smith-Caronia, 917-734-1808,

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For more information,

follow @queerocracynyc on Twitter.

queerocracy_demo-web

 

 


(Hempstead, Long Island, New York) On Tuesday, October 16th over 200 activists, many dressed in orange prison jumpsuits, will travel from New York City to Hempstead, Long Island to highlight the discriminatory practice of criminalizing people based on their HIV status. Protesters seek to draw Presidential candidates’ attention to the issue and gain support for a Congressional Bill, REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act (H.R. 3053) introduced by Rep Barbara Lee in 2011. Activists will begin demonstrating at 4:00 PM

Sarah Nakano of QUEEROCRACY added, “Science proves that we can end AIDS if we get more people on treatment. Laws that specifically criminalize people living with HIV/AIDS are not only discriminatory but increase stigma. As a result, people are less likely to go and get tested. This is an issue regarding public health, not criminal justice."

Protesters will arrive at Hofstra University at 4 PM for the demonstration. Speakers include people who have been directly affected by HIV criminalization as well as

 

“HIV specific criminal statutes are ineffective state legislation that does absolutely nothing except punish vulnerable people, forcing them onto sex offender registries, prison, and undue hardships,” explained Robert Suttle of SERO Project.

Andy Velez of ACT UP New York stated, "You want to know how to end the epidemic? HIV is a virus. It is not evidence of a crime. Until we stop dealing with it as a crime and address it as a health issue people are going to be afraid to get tested and treated. Treatment gets viral loads to an undetectable level and reduces transmission likelihood by 96%. That is how you can end the epidemic.”

There are currently 34 states and 2 territories with HIV-specific criminal statutes that direct target HIV positive people for harsh criminal prosecution based upon their HIV positive status for the same behaviors that are not criminal for HIV negative people. Many other statutes simply apply harsher penalties for HIV positive people without the HIV specific statutes.

While the Obama Administration directed the CDC to write the 2011-2012 National HIV/AIDS Strategy—which includes a suggestion that state legislatures consider reviewing HIV-specific criminal statutes to ensure they are consistent with current knowledge of HIV transmission and that they support public health approaches to preventing and treating HIV— the President has taken no stance on repealing these unjust laws or legal practices. Romney has no stated position on AIDS or HIV criminalization. Activists are calling for the candidates to support requirements that HIV-specific criminal statutes are consistent with current knowledge of HIV transmission and that they support public health approaches to preventing and treating HIV.