During the HIV epidemic in the ’80s and ’90s, many states utilized the force of law to contain outbreaks—including punitive measures against those with HIV in certain situations. Today, society has a different, less stigmatized view of the disease but state laws remain as strict as ever.
According to WKU Public Radio, the senate recently voted to reform aspects of the current HIV laws. Advocates hope the bill may help further reduce the stigma of HIV and hopefully lead to more forthright testing among individuals.
Supporting the lives of the HIV positive
People failing to disclose their HIV-positive status currently risk a class C felony. Advocates of the new bill originally pushed for three things:
- Reduce the HIV exposure crime to a misdemeanor
- Amend the law to investigate a person’s intent—such as using adequate protection or medication
- Remove the requirement that the state must place convicted people on the sex offender registry
After pushback and revisions from opposing lawmakers, the bill now addresses the sex offender registry requirement.
The bill goes to the House next where advocates are confident it may pass.
Knowing the current Tennessee disclosure laws
Those charged with this class C felony risk between three to 15 years in prison and fines upward of $10,000. As this bill moves through legislation, the sex registry requirement still stands.
Anyone facing criminal STD charges in Tennessee may have lifelong consequences from a conviction. People on the registry may not work near schools or even attend their own children’s school functions. There are options and strategies for reducing these effects and restrictions, depending on the defense case.