By Ramsey Cox
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) introduced a bill Tuesday that would force the federal government to review laws that criminalize certain actions by people living with HIV, such as spitting.
“It’s simply not fair that someone having been diagnosed with a chronic, treatable medical condition should automatically be subjected to a different set of criminal laws,” Coons said. “A disturbing number of state and local criminal laws pertaining to individuals with HIV/AIDS are rooted not in science, but in outdated fear.”
The Repeal Existing Policies that Encourage and Allow Legal (REPEAL) HIV Discrimination Act, S. 1790, would require an interagency review of federal and state laws that criminalize certain actions by people living with HIV.
“Our laws need to catch up to our science, and this bill would take an important step in that direction,” Coons said.
Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) have a companion measure in the House, H.R. 1843.