On March 15, 2014, the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) published Prevalence and Public Health Implications of State Laws that Criminalize Potential HIV Exposure in the United States, AIDS and Behavior (“Article”). The Article examines HIV-specific state laws that criminalize engaging in certain behaviors before disclosing known HIV-positive status. Most of these laws do not account for actual scientifically-supported level of risk by type of activities engaged in or risk reduction measures undertaken. As a result, many of these state laws criminalize behaviors that the CDC regards as posing either no or negligible risk for HIV transmission even in the absence of risk reduction measures. 

The Department of Justice is following that Article with this Best Practices Guide to Reform of HIV-Specific Criminal Laws to Align with Scientifically-Supported Factors (“Guide”) to provide technical assistance to states that wish to re-examine their HIV-specific criminal laws to ensure that existing policies “do not place unique or additional burdens on individuals living with HIV/AIDS” and that these policies “reflect contemporary understanding of HIV transmission routes and associated benefits of treatment.”

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