We are extremely disappointed in the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision to uphold existing HIV Criminalization laws under today’s ruling.
Ohio’s HIV Criminalization laws have not kept pace with modern medicine. They are discriminatory, antiquated, a detriment to public health and the prison system, and ultimately do more harm than good. They perpetuate stigma as well as prevent individuals from getting tested and treated for HIV. These laws fail to account for proven prevention measures, such as antiretroviral therapy (ART), pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and condoms. The Centers for Disease Control agree that medical advancements in HIV treatment along with recent evidence-based research studies have consistently demonstrated that an individual living with HIV who is adherent to their ART treatment and virally suppressed, pose no threat of transmitting the virus. The disclosure requirement of Ohio’s laws require HIV-positive individuals to share their status when the risk of transmitting the virus is negligible and non-existent.
We are keenly aware of the additional burden these laws place on LGBTQ people, particularly gay and bisexual men, transgender women, and LGBTQ people of color, who are disproportionately impacted since they make-up a large share of people living with HIV and the majority of new diagnoses. Equitas Health condemns the Ohio Supreme Court’s ruling and recommits itself to continue to work to decriminalize and raise awareness of these punitive HIV-specific laws, policies, regulations, and judicial decisions and the detrimental impact they have on public health and on affected people, families, and communities.
President & CEO