Testimony

Nevada HIV Criminalization: Testimony

August 2020

In 2019, the Nevada Legislature began exploring possible modernization of the state’s existing HIV criminalization laws with the creation of an Advisory Task Force on HIV Exposure Modernization.

Issue

Nevada’s Advisory Task Force on HIV Exposure Modernization was charged with conducting a comprehensive review of the state’s existing statutes and regulations related to HIV criminalization. In September 2020, the task force submitted its preliminary findings and recommendations to the Governor and Legislative Counsel Bureau.

Impact

Research shows that HIV criminalization laws impact hundreds of people and disproportionately target people of color, women, sex workers, and LGBTQ youth. In addition, HIV criminal laws may undermine a state’s public health efforts by deterring people from seeking HIV testing and treatment, stigmatizing those with HIV, and disproportionately affecting the communities most impacted by HIV.

Summary

Williams Institute’s testimony examines the legislative history of Nevada’s HIV crimes, summarizes the publicly available data on the enforcement of these crimes in Nevada, and discusses how the criminalization of HIV is in conflict with the goals of Nevada’s statewide plan to fight HIV. In addition, the testimony provides recommendations for modernizing the state’s laws to consider current knowledge of HIV transmission and align HIV with all other serious communicable diseases.

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Nevada HIV Criminalization: Testimony