April 28, 2015

April 28, 2015

United States's HIV Laws Outdated

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Tuesday and I hope you are having a beary safe and great week so far. Dab the AIDS Bear and I are catching up on work after a very busy weekend and Monday.

HIV laws in the United States were originally instituted back in the 80s when HIV had been stigmatized by religious leaders and conservative government elected officials. Remarkably they have not been updated since that time in most cases.

On a micro level, HIV is spread from one person to another via sexual intercourse, childbirth or the sharing of needles. But on a macro level, HIV infection is perpetuated by the teachings, policies and beliefs of a few institutions that have a sweeping impact on the viewpoints and actions of others.

In the beginning of the HIV epidemic, a lack of knowledge and understanding of the disease and how it spread were to blame. But today, the misplaced morals and judgmental political policies keep the disease alive and well, and place the masses at risk for HIV.

When HIV was an almost certain death sentence, laws where enacted to reflect the severity of infection to deter people from spreading the disease. Thirty years later, HIV is now a chronic and manageable diagnosis, but people living with HIV are still commonly treated as criminals. Regrettably, the criminalization of HIV has led to many people being unjustly prosecuted, regardless of the actual risk of transmission, because their status is seen as an inherent sign of guilt. Although it may be morally preferable for an HIV-positive person to disclose their status before intimate sexual contact, it is the responsibility of both parties to take proper precautions to prevent STI transmissions and to inquire about each otherís HIV status. Placing the sole burden of disclosure with criminal consequences can and has discouraged people from getting tested and accessing care.

Dab the AIDS Bear Project and other HIV/AIDS organizations have been calling for updated HIV laws in the United States since 2000. Hopefully, our elected officials will do the right thing soon and amend or get rid of these archaic laws.

Hope you have a beary safe and great Tuesday!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab