Transgender Law Center thanks and congratulates the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA) for passing a resolution condemning HIV criminalization laws which continue to have a devastating impact on transgender women, especially transgender women of color, who continue to report high rates of police harassment and profiling.
This resolution is incredibly important, as transgender people continue to face extraordinary challenges in accessing quality health care and other quality of life necessities which put the population at a higher risk of living with HIV. The White House looks to PACHA to provide advice and recommendations on how to implement the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, so having their unwavering support is key to ending the epidemic of discrimination our community faces.
What is HIV Criminalization?
People living with HIV are often subject to irrational laws that criminalize them or add additional prison sentencing, simply for having HIV.
From Transgender People HIV and the Law
Cecilia Chung, Senior Strategist
According to the report, the HIV sero-prevelance among transgender women in the U.S. is more than seven times the national average. The HIV infection rate of the general population is 0.6 %; the infection rate for transgender participants in the report’s survey was an astounding 2.6%, with rates for transgender women at 4.28%. The report also found that the infection rate increases to 15.3% for transgender individuals that engage in sex work .
Yet transgender women, who are at such dramatically greater risk of acquiring HIV, often encounter significant issues with criminal justice systems, law enforcement and penal institutions, issues that contribute to further transmission of HIV because they perpetuate stigma and criminalize transgender women.