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Hillary Clinton Says She'll Work to Reform HIV Criminalization Laws as President

Former Secretary of State and Democratic candidate for president, Hillary Clinton, told a gathering of hundreds of HIV advocates in Alabama last week that she supports a repeal of HIV-specific criminal laws.
"As president I will work to reform outdated and stigmatizing federal HIV criminalization laws, and I will call on states to do the same," she said in a video presented at the second "HIV is Not a Crime" conference. Her video was released on YouTube.
This is at least the second time Clinton has said she would work to reform HIV criminal laws. U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, her Democratic primary opponent, has also called for such reforms.
Currently 34 U.S. states have HIV-specific laws on the books, including Michigan. The laws often criminalize behavior which cannot transmit HIV. The laws generally do not require proof of intent to transmit the virus, nor do they require actual transmission. The laws were generally adopted following the passage of the federal Ryan White Act — which provides funds to help care for people living with HIV. A provision in the law required states to certify that a mechanism was in place to prosecute people who intentionally attempted to infect others with HIV through sexual activity, needle sharing or donation of infected blood products and organs.
The move comes just weeks after Michigan advocates visited lawmakers' offices in Lansing to push for support of legislation soon to be introduced by Rep. Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo. The legislation, if passed, would create two misdemeanor crimes and replace the state's felony law. The two misdemeanors would require prosecutors to prove a person living with HIV had an intent to infect someone with the virus, and engaged in behavior demonstrated as a viable route of transmission. One misdemeanor would put those who intended to infect another with the virus, and actually did, in jail for up to a year. The other, for those proven to intend to infect someone with the virus but did not do so, would send someone to jail for 93 days.



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