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Here's a story that fell through the cracks but deserves some spotlight:

Delaware Senator Chris Coons says several states have laws on the books that discriminate against people living with AIDS, and he plans to change that.

When the Senate reconvenes next month, Coons will introduce a bill that would require an interagency review of federal and state laws that punish certain actions by people living with HIV. - WDEL 1040 AM, 11/26/13

Here's a little more info:

Coons said he would introduce his bill, the Repeal Existing Policies that Encourage and Allow Legal (REPEAL) HIV Discrimination Act, when the Senate returns in December.

According to Coons, 32 states have put in place criminal laws based on "perceived exposure" to HIV, and 13 states have criminalized certain acts, such as spitting by people with HIV/AIDS. He said those laws are based on misconceptions about how the disease spreads and need to be repealed to keep people with the disease from being charged with assault or bioterrorism laws.

"It's simply not fair that someone having been diagnosed with a chronic, treatable medical condition should automatically be subjected to a different set of criminal laws," Coons said.

"A disturbing number of state and local criminal laws pertaining to individuals with HIV/AIDS are rooted not in science, but in outdated fear. Rather than recognizing that HIV/AIDS is a treatable medical condition, these laws perpetuate the idea that HIV is a deadly weapon and people with HIV/AIDS are dangerous criminals." - The Hill, 11/26/13

The bill has the backing of the Center for HIV Law and Policy.  Here's some more details:

The REPEAL Act calls for a joint-report between the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense which:

Incorporates the input of state public health officials, nongovernmental health organizations and associations

Involves state public health officials in the review of these laws and the creation of guidance to better address criminal statutes

Determines whether these laws demonstrate a public-health oriented understanding of routes and risks of transmission of HIV

Provides an analysis of the public health and legal implications of these laws on people living with and at-risk of HIV

Includes a set of best practice recommendations directed to state governments, legislatures, attorneys general, public health officials and judicial officers

These specific recommendations will better equip state health departments and HIV/AIDS programs to tackle the criminalization of people living with HIV, modernize their policies so that they are in-sync with national directives and ensure the rights of their constituents without a professional and ethical conflict.

NASTAD commends Congresswomen Lee and Ros-Lehtinen for their work in ensuring the rights of people living with HIV and introducing the REPEAL Act. To learn more about NASTAD’s HIV Decriminalization efforts read our blog posts or visit our website. - NASTAD, 5/18/13

If you would like more information, you can contact Senator Coons' office for more details:

(202) 224-5042

Originally posted to pdc on Sun Dec 01, 2013 at 09:20 PM PST.

Also republished by The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party and Milk Men And Women.

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