They promote a law to decriminalize carriers of sexual diseases in New York
For 76 years in the state of New York, the fact that a person carrying a sexually transmitted disease (STD) Having sexual relations, knowing your health status, is considered a crime, according to the Public Health Law 2307.
And within the legislative move for 2023, Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas announced that he will promote a bill in Albany, which seeks to decriminalize the sexual activities of those living with sexually transmitted infections (STDs)while also expunging prior convictions.
The current norm does not protect those who reveal their status, nor carriers of undetectable non-communicable diseases like HIV or those who use protection, penalizing any sexual contact.
“New Yorkers living with the HIV or other STDsalready face barriers to accessing the care and support they need, and criminalizing them for sexual behavior only perpetuates racial inequities and stigma rather than combat transmission,” said the Queens lawmaker.
The assembly member stressed that the laws must reflect the advances of science and not remain rooted in conceptions of the past.
“We know that increasing access to testing, treatment and other resources, helps stop the transmission of STDs, not criminalization. This archaic part of the New York Public Health Law belongs in the dustbin of history, and I urge my colleagues in Albany to support this bill in the next legislative session,” added the Latino politician.
The Hispanic leader warned that people with sexually transmitted diseases are criminalized and run the risk of being prosecuted for crimes of moral turpitude, which affect immigration processes, since a conviction could lead to deportation or hinder their immigration adjustment.
Jared Trujillosenior policy adviser to the New York Civil Liberties Unionwho supports the legislation, warned that the current law stigmatizes those who carry sexually transmitted diseases.
“New York has reduced the transmission of HIV and STDs through progressive health approaches public, but the archaic laws that criminalize people living with STDs are still in force,” said the activist, insisting that giving the green light to the project in Albany is a moral and public health imperative. “It is time to repeal these stigmatizing lawswhich discourage disclosure, ignore current science, and subject LGBTQ+ people, youth of color, and Black and Latina cisgender women to unnecessary policing.”
The promoters of the legislation assure that public health investigations reveal that the increase in the criminalization of people with sexual diseases does not change behavior or affect the transmission of HIV, and on the contrary, repealing the Public Health Law 2307 would stop further perpetuating the race, gender and class inequities in the penal system.
Tyrone Hanley, NCLR’s director of Racial and Economic Justice Initiatives, said criminalization is a poor substitute for public health initiatives.
“Not only is it ineffective, but it also perpetuates stigma and discrimination against unpopular groups. This is one reason why the LGBTQ movement has a long history of resisting efforts to criminalize our community and violence by the state, including the police.” Hanley said. “Repeal New York law that criminalizes people living with sexually transmitted infections it is part of that legacy and the law deserves to be included in the history books, where it belongs.”
Christine Khaikin, Health Policies lawyer from The Legal Action Center organization, assured that repealing Public Health Law 2307 is an act of justice to put an end to the unfair criminalization suffered by people living with a sexually transmitted disease or HIV.
“This law is not only outdated, but seriously undermines public health and safety, and ignores decades of scientific advances in the prevention of infectious diseases”, said the defender. “Repealing this harmful law is vital to advancing New York’s public health goals and ending the discriminatory treatment of people living with HIV and AIDS.”
Alisha Kohndirector of Queers for Justice at The Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center, joined the call by activists and Assemblywoman González-Rojas for New York to move toward decriminalizing people with sexually transmitted diseases in relationships, and join to several states that are on that same legal ground.
“For decades, Queer New Yorkers have been criminalized for having HIV/AIDS. Now is the time for the state of New York to repeal law 2307,” said the activist.