US: Shelby County, Tennessee, will no longer prosecute people living with HIV under Tennessee’s aggravated prostitution law

Justice Department Secures Agreement with Shelby County, Tennessee, District Attorney General to Cease Enforcement of State Law that Discriminates Against People with HIV

The Justice Department announced today that the Shelby County, Tennessee, District Attorney General (DA) has agreed to cease prosecution of individuals living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) under Tennessee’s aggravated prostitution law. The DA will also adopt reforms to correct discrimination against people living with HIV who were subjected to discriminatory and harsher penalties under the law.

This agreement resolves the Justice Department’s finding that the Shelby County DA violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by enforcing Tennessee’s aggravated prostitution law that imposed enhanced criminal penalties based on a person’s HIV status. The prosecutions were carried out without consideration of risk of transmitting HIV, and the harsher penalties included being charged with a felony (as opposed to a misdemeanor) and being required to register for life as a sex offender.

“Living with HIV is not a crime and the continued enforcement of laws that criminalize a person based on their HIV status, regardless of risk, perpetuate bias, stereotypes and ignorance about HIV,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “We are pleased that Shelby County District Attorney has agreed to cease enforcement of this discriminatory law, and that future prosecution decisions will reflect the significant advances made in HIV prevention and treatment, consistent with the ADA.”

Under this agreement, the DA will not prosecute individuals under the aggravated prostitution law or for violations of the sex offender registry requirements that have resulted from prior convictions under that law. The DA will also notify anyone eligible of their ability to petition for vacatur of their convictions, termination of the remainder of their sentences and elimination of fees owed.

This agreement also requires the Shelby County DA to adopt policies and train prosecuting attorneys on the ADA’s anti-discrimination requirements relating to HIV, a disability under the ADA. Under the agreement, the DA will also report its compliance with the agreement to the department.

Uganda: Constitutional court dismisses argument that STI law contravenes provisions of the Constitution

Court dismisses petition challenging venereal disease law

The Constitutional Court has dismissed a petition in which health rights activists were challenging the legality of the Venereal Diseases Act, reasoning that the law has since been repealed. The Venereal Diseases Act was enacted in 1977 and provided for the examination and treatment of persons infected with venereal diseases and for other matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Venereal diseases are those typically contracted by sexual intercourse with a person already infected, such as chlamydia, genital herpes, gonorrhea, HIV, HPV, and syphilis, among others. In a unanimous judgment, a five-member panel of justices held that it is futile to engage in a discourse regarding the constitutionality of the provisions of the Venereal Diseases Act after the repeal of the Act hence there is no live controversy before the court.

“In essence, while at the time the petition was filed it raised a question for the interpretation of the Constitution, by the time we heard the matter and delivered the judgment, the Act had been repealed. This means that the matters in controversy are moot,” held the judges who included Fredrick Egonda -Ntende, Catherine Bamugemereire, Irene Mulyagonja, Monica Mugenyi, and Christopher Gashirabake.

The court explained that having had a careful look at the Public Health Act of Uganda, it was found that at the time the petition was filed, the Venereal Disease Act was still good law but on March 24, 2023, the amendment to the Public Health Act 2O23 came into force and the disputed law was repealed.

Health rights body, Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) had sued the Attorney General (AG) challenging the provisions of the Venereal Disease Act Cap 284 for contravening provisions of the 1995 Constitution.

Through its lawyers, CEHURD had argued that the Uganda Law Reform Commission was duty-bound and therefore, ought to have studied, reviewed, and made recommendations for the systematic improvement, modernization, and reform of the Venereal Diseases Act as mandated under section 10 of the Uganda Law Reform Commission Act Cap 26.

It was further argued that as a result of the actions and, or inaction on the part of the ULRC, the law was inconsistent with and in contravention of Article 248 of the Constitution.

The petitioner had argued that Section 2 of the Venereal Diseases Act is inconsistent with and in contravention of Articles 8A (1), 21(1) (a), 45 and Objectives XIV (b) and XX of the National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy of the Constitution.

They had also alleged that sections 3(1), (2), (3) and (4) of the Venereal Diseases Act are inconsistent with and in contravention of Articles 8A (1), 21(2), 24, 27(1), 27(2), 28(1), 42, 43(a), 44(c), 45 and objectives XIV (b) and XX of the National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy of the Constitution.

Court documents show that section 5 of the Act is inconsistent with and in contravention of Articles 8A(1), 21(2), 23(1), (2), 24, 27(2), 43(2)(C), 44(a), 45 and Objectives XIV (b) and XX of the National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy of the Constitution.
But the AG had argued that section 2 of the Venereal Diseases Act which provides for the examination of persons infected or suspected to be infected with venereal diseases is consistent with Article 8A of the Constitution which provides that Uganda shall be governed based on principles of national interest and common good enshrined in the National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy.

US: NYCLU strongly supports the REPEAL STI Discrimination Act and encourages its expedient passage

Repeal STI Discrimination Act

While New York has made considerable progress in reducing the prevalence of HIV over the last decade, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated hurdles to HIV prevention, testing, and treatment. Moreover, New York continues to see stark disparities in HIV’s impact with Black, Indigenous, and other New Yorkers of color, as well as transgender New Yorkers and young men who have sex with men, bearing the brunt of the epidemic. Repealing New York’s HIV and sexually-transmitted infection (STI) criminalization law, Public Health Law § 2307, is a critical step toward ending the epidemic.

The NYCLU strongly supports the REPEAL STI Discrimination Act and encourages its expedient passage.

2023 – 2024 Legislative Memorandum

REPEAL STI Discrimination Act
S.4603-A (Hoylman-Sigal) / A.3347-A (Gonzalez-Rojas)

Position: SUPPORT

While New York has made considerable progress in reducing the prevalence of HIV over the last decade 1, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated hurdles to HIV prevention, testing, and treatment. Moreover, New York continues to see stark disparities in HIV’s impact with Black, Indigenous, and other New Yorkers of color, as well as transgender New Yorkers and young men who have sex with men, bearing the brunt of the epidemic.2

Repealing New York’s HIV and sexually-transmitted infection (STI) criminalization law, Public Health Law § 2307, is a critical step toward ending the epidemic.

Laws that criminalize people living with HIV/AIDS and STIs discourage people from learning and disclosing their status, ignore science, harm patient relationships with counselors and doctors, and perpetuate stigma. Recognizing these realities, 12 states have amended or repealed their laws criminalizing HIV/AIDS since 2014. New York must join them by passing the REPEAL STI Discrimination Act, S.4603-A (Hoylman-Sigal) / A.3347-A (Gonzalez-Rojas), which would repeal Public Health Law § 2307 and expunge past convictions under the law. The NYCLU strongly supports this bill and urges its immediate passage.

At present, New York criminalizes people for having sex if they have an STI. This crime carries no intent requirement and no transmission requirement, and open disclosure to one’s partners is no defense. Defense attorneys report that New York prosecutors have weaponized this statute to prosecute people living with HIV who have sex.

This is bad public policy. STI criminalization undermines public health and disproportionately impacts communities of color, particularly LGBTQ+ communities of color. For these reasons, the NYCLU strongly supports the REPEAL STI Discrimination Act and encourages its expedient passage.

1 New York State Budget and Policy Priorities NYS Fiscal Year 2025, Ending the Epidemic 2 (Nov. 2023).
2 Id.

US: Louisiana HIV decriminalisation bill to be revisited at a later date

Lawmakers stall on bill to change state’s HIV law

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – Some at the state legislature believe the penalty for intentionally passing it along to someone else should not be as harsh with HIV no longer being the death sentence that it once was.

“It really is now a chronic disease like diabetes, like hypertension even though the transmission is certainly not the same,” said Jennifer Avegno with the New Orleans Health Department.

A task force was recently created to review the current data we have around HIV and how our state can update its laws. Health professionals today claim the law deters people from getting tested or treated.

“Many states like Georgia, Texas, Florida, others like Virginia have updated their laws. So, we’re currently just trying to update the laws,” said Rep. Aimee Adatto Freeman (D-New Orleans).

Under HB436 Rep. Freeman, those convicted would have their fine be reduced from $5,000 to $1,000, reduce the amount of time behind bars from 10 years to 1 year, and also redefine the crime by calling it “intentional transmission of HIV” instead of “intentional exposure to HIV”. The argument is that transmission is specific to those who actually become infected, while exposure is too broad of a term that could result in someone who’s infected being arrested for exposure after they’ve spit on someone.

“In 2009 I was convicted of intentional exposure to the aids virus. Without my consent, my home was searched and ultimately, I was arrested at work. And I would add that I was an employee at the 2nd circuit court of appeal, so I was embarrassingly arrested in front of my co-workers and peers,” said Robert Suttle who has HIV.

However, some said the concerns about the laws vagueness was address in 2018 when the law was amended.

“And that is when spitting on someone and some of these other outdated methods of quote unquote transmission were repealed from our law. Those do not exist,” said Kathleen Barrios with the 19th J.D.

This caused some on the committee to take a pause on how they were about to vote. Before it got to that point Representative Freeman decided to pull her bill and bring it back for another try later after she’s had time to get on the same page with the district attorneys.

US: Bill to end felony charges for people with HIV in prostitution cases removes the last relic of HIV criminalization laws

Pennsylvania lawmakers introduce bills to repeal felony charge for HIV-related prostitution

HARRISBURGMarch 21, 2023 – State Senator Vincent Hughes and Representatives Benjamin Waxman and Malcolm Kenyatta announced legislation on March 20, 2024 that will repeal Pennsylvania’s felony sentencing enhancement for people living with HIV who are charged with prostitution.

Removing the felony charge removes the last relic of HIV criminalization laws in Pennsylvania, one of nine states still subjecting people living with HIV to harsher penalties if charged with prostitution. In recent years other states including Georgia, Nevada, and California have modernized or repealed their prostitution laws.

“HIV is not a crime. This is 2024, not 1984,” said Senator Hughes. “We have evolved so much in the forty years since we were confronted with this virus. Stigma was wrong then, and it is wrong now. Let’s continue the journey of eliminating this issue of discrimination toward HIV from the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”

HIV criminalization laws began to appear across the nation more than 30 years ago, and advocates have been pushing for reform ever since. Kenya Moussa, of the Pennsylvania HIV Justice Alliance, Positive Women’s Network – Pennsylvania Chapter, and Health Not Prisons Collective, said that “we should treat HIV like a health condition, not like a crime.”

The current law, according to Representative Waxman “does nothing for public safety. The only thing that the mention of HIV in the criminal code does is discriminate against people with a communicable disease and that is not right.”

“HIV is not a crime,” Representative Kenyatta emphasized. “When we criminalize a diagnosis, we encourage people to go untested and not seek treatment.” Kenyatta continued, “Pennsylvania has an opportunity to move the ball in the right direction and treat everyone, no matter what diagnosis with dignity and respect.”

Shekinah Rose, who has been “living, surviving and thriving with HIV/AIDS for 39+ years” and is a member of the Pennsylvania HIV Justice Alliance, Positively Trans, and Positive Women’s Network USA, said that “with the passage of this bill, we will remove stigma, encouraging people to get tested, get into care, and thrive!”

A September 2023 poll by Susquehanna Polling and Research shows that a majority of Pennsylvanians believe that the state’s HIV laws should be updated to reflect modern science. According to the poll, 76% of Pennsylvanians believe that current HIV laws should be modernized and updated. And 79% believe that people living with HIV should receive the health care they need, rather than face criminal charges that discriminate and discourage proper testing, treatment, and disclosure.

“Punishing people simply because they have a virus does not make anyone safe,” said Ronda B. Goldfein, executive director of the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania. “Instead, criminal penalties based on fear and misinformation contribute to the stigma fueling the HIV epidemic.”

US: Maryland lawmakers sponsor bill aiming to repeal HIV criminalisation law

Commentary: Maryland must stop criminalizing people living with HIV

State lawmakers moving to repeal law that stigmatizes people living with HIV, increases public health risk

Having a virus should not be a crime. Yet, in Maryland, people living with HIV can face prosecution and criminal penalties even when we have disclosed our status, used condoms or are virally suppressed through medication. Maryland has an outdated law from 1989 that makes it a misdemeanor for a person living with HIV who is aware of their HIV-positive status to “knowingly transfer or attempt to transfer” HIV to another person. A conviction under this law can carry a punishment of up to three years in prison, and the law has been used to charge people for behaviors that do not transmit HIV, such as spitting and biting.

As people who have lived with HIV for decades, we know firsthand that Maryland’s HIV criminalization law discourages people from knowing their status, fosters stigma and creates barriers to lifesaving health care. It’s time for lawmakers to repeal this deeply unjust law.

Legislation (HB 485/SB 1165) sponsored by Del. Kris Fair (D) and Sen. Sen. Karen Lewis Young (D), both from Frederick County, aims to repeal this law that punishes people living with HIV. It is a law enforced on deeply racist lines. A recent analysis by the Williams Institute revealed our HIV criminalization law is used disproportionately against Black Marylanders and Black men in particular, driving increased incarceration rates and fostering stigma and shame around HIV and knowing one’s status. People living with HIV need health care, not the threat of prison cells.

This law was passed 35 years ago, when little was known about the virus. If that seems long ago, it was: George H.W. Bush was president, cellphones were the size of bricks, and Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul topped the music charts. At that time, there was little hope for people living with HIV. Thankfully, much has changed since then.

Today, we are just some of the many people with HIV who are living long and fulfilling lives. Those of us living with HIV who achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load — the amount of HIV in our blood — by taking medication as prescribed cannot sexually transmit HIV to our partners. Furthermore, people who don’t have HIV have even more effective prevention tools and can take medications such as PrEP and PEP. All of these advancements were unheard of in 1989, when lawmakers responded with fear by criminalizing HIV.

If you are surprised to learn about the incredible medical advancements in the treatment and prevention of HIV, you are not alone. Stigma and racism around the virus run so deep that many people have an outdated understanding of HIV. In fact, today our goal of ending the epidemic of HIV is achievable in the coming years if we focus on expanding access to testing, prevention and treatment.

All of us should know our HIV status, but stigma, lack of access to health care and fear of criminal penalties under Maryland law are barriers to testing for many. Our state laws and policies should remove barriers to health care and encourage Marylanders to know their status. The compounding tragedy of our HIV criminalization law is it deters people from seeking testing and treatment, thus prolonging the HIV epidemic and its toll on our communities.

Repealing the HIV criminalization law would make it safer for people unknowingly living with HIV to get tested and access needed treatment. Nationally, a recent study showed that approximately 80% of new HIV transmissions were from people who do not know their HIV status or are not receiving regular care. Expanding access to testing could have a profound effect in our state. The Maryland Department of Health estimates over 34% of young people living with HIV in the state remain undiagnosed. It is clear we cannot meet our public health goals without repealing this law.

As community caretakers in the movement, we are committed to doing everything we can to reduce stigma around HIV and increase access to care for all Marylanders. For years, we have joined other people living with HIV to share our personal stories with legislators in support of updating our law. HIV is preventable and treatable, and we hope one day to end the epidemic. However, to achieve that goal, we must first end the criminalization of HIV in the state we call home. Removing harmful, stigmatizing criminal punishments for knowing your HIV status is a commonsense update that is long overdue for the great state of Maryland.


US: Kentucky bill proposes downgrading HIV transmission charges from felony to misdemeanour

Kentucky lawmakers taking up HIV/AIDS transmission decriminalization measure

By Stu Johnson

HIV/AIDS is a disease that continues to affect thousands of people across the Commonwealth. It’s an issue getting attention in Frankfort as lawmakers consider legislation tied to the transmission of HIV. The focus is on decriminalization.

The AIDS epidemic came about more than 4 decades ago. Since that time, a great deal has changed regarding how the disease is managed, which in the early 1980’s was deadly. There are laws tied to the illness that are being updated. Kentucky lawmakers are taking up a bill that makes intentional transmission of HIV/AIDS a Class A misdemeanor. It’s currently listed as a felony. Russell GOP Representative Danny Bentley, a retired pharmacist, is sponsoring the bill.

“Most people don’t realize that HIV is not their number one STD today. It’s human papilloma, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. So, we’re putting it on the same level as the other ones and decreasing the penalty,” said Bentley.

Bentley said, quote, “having HIV is not a crime, it’s an infection.”

Morgan Cole is an advanced practice registered nurse and heads the Sexually Transmitted Infections Task Force at Louisville’s Norton’s HealthCare. Cole said it’s not about completely eliminating accountability.

“There absolutely is a need to not eliminate these laws altogether, but to modernize them to what we know now. Eliminating the laws kind of lets people who are out there doing things with ill intention. Those no accountability for those people and we definitely want to make sure that we have law in place that hold people accountable, if they’re putting people at risk intentionally,” said Cole.

Cole noted the criminalization of HIV is still widespread throughout the United States. She added 35 states including Kentucky criminalize actions involving HIV. The RN said the situation today is much different than in the 1980s.

“We have anti-retroviral therapy and if a person is virally suppressed and their viral load is zero they cannot pass HIV to other people. We didn’t have pre-exposure prophylaxis when these laws were written,” said Cole.

Cole said the laws need updating to make sure there aren’t convictions of people who are doing everything in their power to prevent transmission.

Chris Hartman is director of Kentucky Fairness and is spending a significant amount of time at the State Capitol during the current General Assembly session. He said the UCLA-based Williams Institute reports Kentucky saw 32 people arrested for HIV transmission since 2006. And although the numbers might be considered small, Hartman said the felony charge option carries a heavy weight.

“This is all about de-stigmatizing HIV and AIDS which more than 40 years after the original HIV pandemic and AIDS pandemic is the right and just thing to do,” said Hartman.

Hartman says most of the previous arrests occurred in Louisville, Lexington, and northern Kentucky. He says women in general have comprised of about two-thirds of those arrests.

Hartman said bringing HIV/AIDs transmission prosecution in line with other sexually transmitted infections could also increase testing.

“We know that right away when people learn that they are HIV positive that they change their behaviors and so the risk of transmission decreases first off because folks end up becoming safer, to disclose their status, to not engage in sexual activity, if they learn that they are HIV positive,” said Hartman.

Registered Nurse Morgan Cole said there have been increases in HIV cases. She said Kentucky has been identified by the CDC as a high risk of HIV outbreaks, linked to injection drug use. Cole said there are 54 counties in the Commonwealth with increased risks of having an outbreak. And Chris Hartman said it’s testing again that can make the biggest difference in bringing down HIV cases.

Singapore: People with undetectable viral load no longer required to disclose their HIV status under new law

HIV disclosure law to be amended

People with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) will no longer be legally required to disclose the risk of contracting the virus to their sexual partners as long as they have maintained undetectable viral loads for at least six months, under a Bill passed in Parliament on March 7.

They must also have test results showing that they have an undetectable viral load dated nine months or less before the date they have sex, and they must have adhered to their medical treatment during this time.

“Persons living with HIV who have met these criteria would have effectively zero risk of transmitting HIV to their sexual partner,” said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health Rahayu Mahzam in Parliament.

Currently, those who have tested positive for HIV must not engage in sexual activity with another person unless they first inform the other person of the risk of contracting HIV, and the other person agrees to accept the risk. Those who fail to do so can be fined up to $50,000, jailed for up to 10 years or both.

Ms Rahayu said the changes align with medical advancements, as well as Singapore’s public health objective to curb transmission by shifting greater responsibility to individuals.

“The objectives of the amendments are to encourage individuals who are at higher risk of getting HIV to be tested regularly for HIV, and if possible to get treated early, so that they can achieve undetectable viral load as early as possible,” she said. She urged those living with HIV to adhere to treatment and monitor their viral load closely with their doctors to reduce the risk of transmission.

The amendments to the Infectious Diseases Act mean that laws on disclosure will no longer apply to such individuals if they have maintained an undetectable viral load for a prescribed period before having sex.

Ms Rahayu noted that Singapore is not the first jurisdiction to amend HIV disclosure laws. Sweden, Taiwan and the United States have also removed the disclosure requirement for persons living with HIV who have no risk of transmitting the virus.

“I would like to emphasise that in proposing the amendments, we are not relaxing the public health safeguards against HIV transmission, but encouraging infected persons to come forward to be tested and treated, thereby better protecting their sexual partners,” she said.

Ms Rahayu added that irresponsible behaviour that can lead to the transmission of HIV remains an offence and appropriate enforcement action will be taken.

It is still a criminal offence for any person who knows that he or she has HIV to donate blood at any blood bank in Singapore. Those who do so can be fined up to $50,000, jailed for up to 10 years or both.

Mexico: Activists call for congress to repeal HIV Criminalisation statute in Tlaxcala

Activists urge the decriminalisation of “danger of contagion” for HIV and other diseases in Tlaxcala

Translated from Spanish with – Scroll down for original article

Activists and defenders of the human rights of people living with HIV have urged the Congress of Tlaxcala to pass an initiative to eliminate the crime of “danger of contagion” from the local Penal Code as soon as possible.

Antonio Escobar Muñoz, director of the HIV and Human Rights programme of the LGBTTTQI+ collective, argued that it is essential to eliminate any discriminatory treatment based on health status.

According to the activist, cases of discrimination and stigmatisation based on health status persist in Tlaxcala, especially in school, work and governmental environments, mainly in the health sector.

Escobar Muñoz pointed out that people with HIV face criminalisation based on their HIV status, but often choose not to report it for fear of stigma and re-victimisation.

She emphasised that in Tlaxcala more work is needed on awareness raising, sensitisation and education, although the decriminalisation initiative represents an important step towards ensuring safe and discrimination-free environments.

This day, the initiative was presented in the plenary of the Local Congress with a draft decree proposing to repeal the denomination of Chapter I of the Eleventh Title with its respective article 302; section V of article 434, both of the Penal Code for the Free and Sovereign State of Tlaxcala.

This initiative seeks to recognise the need to promote public policies that encourage prevention, education and support for people living with HIV, thus contributing to the fight against stigmatisation and discrimination, as well as highlighting the need to update legislation in Tlaxcala.

Urgen activistas despenalización de “peligro de contagio” por VIH y otras enfermedades en Tlaxcala

Activistas y defensores de los derechos humanos de personas que viven con VIH han urgido al Congreso de Tlaxcala a dictaminar cuanto antes la iniciativa para eliminar del Código Penal local el delito de “peligro de contagio”.

Antonio Escobar Muñoz, director del programa de VIH y Derechos Humanos del colectivo LGBTTTQI+, argumentó que es indispensable eliminar cualquier trato discriminatorio por condición de salud.

Según el activista, en Tlaxcala persisten casos de discriminación y estigmatización por condición de salud, especialmente en entornos escolares, laborales y gubernamentales, principalmente en el sector salud.

Escobar Muñoz señaló que las personas con VIH enfrentan situaciones de criminalización basadas en su estatus serológico, pero muchas veces optan por no denunciar por miedo al estigma y la revictimización.

Enfatizó que en Tlaxcala se necesita más trabajo en concientización, sensibilización y educación, aunque la iniciativa de despenalización representa un paso importante para garantizar entornos seguros y libres de discriminación.

Este día, se presentó en el pleno del Congreso Local la iniciativa con proyecto de decreto por el cual se propone derogar la denominación del Capítulo I del Título Décimo Primero con su respectivo artículo 302; la fracción V del artículo 434, ambos del Código Penal para el Estado Libre y Soberano de Tlaxcala.

En esta iniciativa, se busca reconocer la necesidad de promover políticas públicas que fomenten la prevención, la educación y el apoyo a las personas que viven con VIH, contribuyendo así a la lucha contra la estigmatización y la discriminación, además de destacar la necesidad de actualizar la legislación en Tlaxcala.

Mexico: Colima State repeals “danger of contagion” article from its criminal code

The offence of “Danger of Contagion” is removed from the Criminal Code.

Translated with – Scroll down for original article in Spanish

With just 15 votes in favour from Morena deputies and their allies from the New Alliance Party, Labour Party, and the now non-party deputy Rigoberto García Negrete, the State Congress repealed the criminal offence known as “Danger of Contagion”, which criminalised people infected with the HIV virus.

This action was carried out following the presentation of the opinion on the Bill with draft Decree, proposed by Deputy Alfredo Álvarez Ramírez, to reform Articles 77 and 119, and repeal Chapter I of the Seventh Title and Article 212 of the Penal Code for the State of Colima.

The Commission of Legislative Studies and Constitutional Points, in charge of drafting the opinion, emphasised that the measure was adopted under a guaranteeing vision and in response to the demand of different social groups to end discrimination.

The elimination of the criminal offence “Danger of Contagion” from the Criminal Code for the State of Colima was justified by the fact that it violated the human rights of people with contagious diseases, stigmatising them and unfairly turning them into victims and perpetrators.

During the “Ninth Youth Parliament 2023”, in which 25 young people from the state participated, initiatives in favour of various social sectors were presented. This reform took up the research and proposal of youth deputy Roberto Macías Cruz, who argued that the criminalisation of HIV increases the vulnerability of those affected and leads to multiple human rights violations.

According to UN AIDS, more than 3,242 people with HIV have been prosecuted for exposure and transmission of the virus. The initiative argues that criminalising HIV not only fails to stop the epidemic, but also undermines public health prevention efforts, alienating people with the virus.

The Committee stressed that the aim of repealing the “Danger of Contagion” offence is to avoid stigmatisation, discrimination and criminalisation of people with infectious diseases, ensuring the protection of human rights such as equality, non-discrimination and health, principles upheld by the Constitution.

The opinion, when submitted to the plenary for consideration, highlighted that the “Danger of Contagion” offence infringes the rights to equality and non-discrimination of people with diseases, as it criminalises the simple fact of suffering from a contagious disease, increasing stigmatisation and fear towards these people, which undermines human dignity. The commission concluded that the repeal of the criminal offence was feasible, as it discriminates against and unjustly criminalises people with contagious diseases.

The proposal to reform articles 77 and 119, and to repeal Chapter I of Title Seven and Article 212 of the Penal Code for the State of Colima, was put to a vote without the consensus of all parliamentary groups. After a recess and discussions, an agreement was reached to approve the reforms with the support of Morena and its allies.

The PAN and PRI deputies did not vote in favour, while those of Movimiento Ciudadano abstained. Finally, by a margin of 15 votes, the repeal of the criminal offence “Danger of Contagion” was approved, marking a step forward in the protection of the human rights of people with contagious diseases, by avoiding their stigmatisation and criminalisation.

Eliminan del Código Penal el delito denominado “Peligro de Contagio

Con apenas 15 votos a favor de los diputados de Morena y sus aliados del Partido Nueva Alianza, Partido del Trabajo, y del ahora diputado sin partido Rigoberto García Negrete, el Congreso del Estado derogó el delito penal conocido como “Peligro de Contagio”, que criminalizaba a las personas infectadas por el virus del VIH.

Esa acción se llevó a cabo tras presentarse el dictamen sobre la Iniciativa de Ley con proyecto de Decreto, propuesta por el Diputado Alfredo Álvarez Ramírez, para reformar los artículos 77 y 119, y derogar el Capítulo I del Título Séptimo y el Artículo 212 del Código Penal para el Estado de Colima.

La Comisión de Estudios Legislativos y Puntos Constitucionales, encargada de elaborar el dictamen, destacó que la medida se adoptó bajo una visión garantista y respondiendo a la demanda de distintos grupos sociales por acabar con la discriminación.

La eliminación del tipo penal “Peligro de Contagio” del Código Penal para el Estado de Colima se justificó por vulnerar los derechos humanos de las personas con enfermedades contagiosas, estigmatizándolas y convirtiéndolas injustamente en víctimas y victimarios.

Durante el “Noveno Parlamento de las Juventudes 2023”, donde participaron 25 jóvenes del estado, se presentaron iniciativas en favor de varios sectores sociales. Esa reforma retomó la investigación y propuesta del diputado juvenil Roberto Macías Cruz, quien argumentó que la criminalización del VIH aumenta la vulnerabilidad de las personas afectadas y conduce a múltiples violaciones de derechos humanos.

Según ONU SIDA, más de 3,242 personas con VIH han sido procesadas por exposición y transmisión del virus. La iniciativa sostiene que criminalizar el VIH no solo no detiene la epidemia, sino que también debilita los esfuerzos de prevención de salud pública, alienando a las personas con el virus.

La Comisión Dictaminadora subrayó que el objetivo de derogar el delito de “Peligro de Contagio” es evitar la estigmatización, discriminación y criminalización de las personas con enfermedades contagiosas, asegurando la protección de los derechos humanos como la igualdad, la no discriminación y la salud, principios sostenidos por la Constitución.

El dictamen, al someterse a consideración del pleno, resaltó que el delito “Peligro de Contagio” infringe los derechos a la igualdad y no discriminación de las personas con enfermedades, ya que criminaliza el simple hecho de padecer una enfermedad contagiosa, aumentando la estigmatización y el temor hacia estas personas, lo cual atenta contra la dignidad humana. La comisión concluyó que la derogación del tipo penal era viable, pues discrimina y criminaliza injustamente a las personas portadoras de enfermedades contagiosas.

La propuesta de reformar los artículos 77 y 119, y derogar el Capítulo I del Título Séptimo y el Artículo 212 del Código Penal para el Estado de Colima, fue sometida a votación sin el consenso de todos los grupos parlamentarios. Tras un receso y discusiones, se logró un acuerdo para aprobar las reformas con el apoyo de Morena y sus aliados.

Los diputados del PAN y PRI no votaron a favor, mientras que los de Movimiento Ciudadano se abstuvieron. Finalmente, por un margen de 15 votos, se aprobó la derogación del tipo penal “Peligro de Contagio”, marcando un paso adelante en la protección de los derechos humanos de las personas con enfermedades contagiosas, al evitar su estigmatización y criminalización.

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