In the United States, approximately 1.1 million people are living with HIV infection and nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur each year. Disease-specific laws and policies that result in criminal prosecution fuel stigma and discrimination against persons living with communicable diseases. Thirty-four U.S. states and territories have adopted criminal statutes on HIV transmission and some states have also adopted criminalizing laws specific to persons infected with other sexually transmitted infections.
Local health departments should adopt and support approaches to reduce stigma and discrimination against individuals living with communicable diseases. The National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS), released by the White House in 2010, recommends actions to reduce stigma and discrimination experienced by people living with HIV.
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