The harms of HIV criminalization: responding to the ‘association of HIV diagnosis rates and laws criminalizing HIV exposure in the United States’

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As academics, advocates, including people living with HIV, we are writing to welcome the findings, recently published in this journal, suggesting the ineffectiveness of invoking the criminal law as a tool of HIV prevention [1]. Using the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, Sweeney et al.[1] searched for correlations between rates of diagnosis of HIV (2001–2010) and AIDS (1994–2010) and the presence of state laws that criminalize so-called ‘HIV exposure’. In 30 states that had such laws, Sweeney et al.[1] found ‘no association between HIV or AIDS diagnosis rates and criminal exposure laws across states over time’.

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