The Sero Project and the Texas HIV/AIDS Coalition (THAC) are hosting a Texas HIV Criminalization Conference Call tomorrow (Wednesday, March 25th) at 4:00 pm Eastern (which is 3:00 pm Central).
The state of Texas is now considering legislation that would directly impact the lives of people living with HIV, in some ways in a VERY negative manner. We need as many people as possible to join the call to discuss these bills and what we can do about them!!! Please RSVP Cindy Stine at: firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP for this call and to obtain the call-in information.
The following text, taken from a recent article in the Dallas Voice, describes the extent of the problem:
"Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, filed SB 779, which would use a crime suspect’s HIV status against them if they knowingly infected the victim with HIV. SB 1705, also filed by Huffman and its companion HB 2395 by Rep. Rick Miller, R-Sugar Land, would allow a court to test a juvenile for HIV following a crime.
Leo, a longtime social worker who has worked with clients living with HIV, is blunt about the three bills: 'They would criminalize HIV. HIV isn’t a crime. It’s a public health problem.'
Texas is among five states that have no law criminalizing HIV, but there have been cases prosecuted in Texas based on exposure or transmission.
'There’s already legislation making it a crime to intentionally spread HIV,” Leo said of the Ryan White Act requirements. 'But these aren’t those bills. These new bills use HIV status as a crime, against people who are suspects in a crime but have yet to be proven guilty. They’re allowing prosecutors to use private medical records, as mandated under HIPPA, as a weapon.'”
The Sero Project, a network of people with HIV and allies fighting for freedom from stigma and injustice, will provide welcome guidance to Texas advocates as well as non-Texans who wish to help us oppose this bill. Please help to ensure that Texas state leaders know that #HIVisNOTaCrime and that people living with #HIV are #NotaDeadlyWeapon!!!