Public health advocates are hoping they’ve defeated a House bill that would criminalize the transmission of HIV. The bill, sponsored by Coventry representative Robert Nardolillo III, would have made it a crime for someone to knowingly transmit the disease through sex, sharing drug paraphernalia, or donating blood.
Rhode Island Public Health Institute head and Brown professor Amy Nunn testified at a House hearing Tuesday. She said the measure could unravel the state’s progress in reducing new HIV infections. “We know that punitive measures haven’t worked to change people’s risk behaviors, for sexual risk-taking behaviors and also reducing people’s drug use. And so we think that these draconian measures really aren’t based in the evidence for what we know works to reduce HIV transmission.”
House Health, Education and Welfare committee members recommended the bill be held for further study. Now Nunn said public health advocates must continue their work to get more people tested and into HIV treatment.
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