The Champion

July 2016 , Page 15 

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NACDL News: NACDL Condemns HIV Criminalization

By Ezra Dunkle-Polier, Katherine Holden, and Ivan J. Dominguez

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On May 21, 2016, at NACDL’s Spring Meeting, the board of directors unanimously adopted a resolution opposing all laws that base criminal liability and/or penalty enhancements on one’s HIV status rather than on the intent to harm another individual. Thirty-four U.S. states and territories have criminal statutes that allow prosecutions for allegations of nondisclosure, exposure and (although not required) transmission of the HIV virus. Prosecutions have occurred in at least 39 states under HIV-specific criminal laws or general criminal laws. Most of these laws treat HIV exposure as a felony, and people convicted under these laws are serving sentences as long as 30 years or more.

As set forth in NACDL’s resolution, “the focus on knowledge of status as a key element of an HIV-related crime, rather than on intent and capacity to transmit the virus, is a classic example of an inadequate mens rea, or criminal intent, requirement and overly expansive criminalization.”

“Laws s

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