Criminalization of Sex and Status: HIV, Gender Identity and Race

20th Annual State Criminal Justice Network Conference
August 18-20, 2021 | Held Virtually

This panel examines the continued criminalization of HIV and other health status, the undermining of the central principle that criminal intent be required for criminal liability, and efforts to reform these discriminatory laws.



The legislative history and enforcement of HIV and other infectious disease criminal laws reveal several consistent factors at their root: homophobia, transphobia, class and race bias, and a profound lack of literacy in the routes, risks and prevention/treatment realities of infectious diseases. The panel also explores the relentless efforts to use the criminal law to punish and marginalize transgender individuals and work being done to turn the tide in this arena as well.

  • Catherine Hanssens, Executive Director, Center for HIV Law and Policy
  • Eric T. Paulk, JD, Deputy Director, Georgia Equality
  • Moderated by: Ivan Dominguez, Senior Director of Public Affairs & Communications, NACDL

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