The Carrboro Board of Aldermen wrote a resolution April 5 thanking N.C. Rep. David Price for co-sponsoring a bill that would repeal policies criminalizing people with HIV.
HIV criminalization involves criminal laws that penalize alleged, perceived or potential HIV exposure, according to AIDS Watch, an organization that works to end the AIDS epidemic in the United States.
Carrboro Board of Aldermen member Bethany Chaney said there is a lot of misinformation about HIV informed by bias.
“Plenty of people that are anti-gay also have their ideas about the propensity for gay people to spread HIV,” Chaney said.
The board's resolution thanked Price for co-sponsoring the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act of 2015 that aims to stop discriminatory policies against people with HIV/AIDS. This bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congress member Barbara Lee of California in March 2015.
Price said in a statement that he was proud to co-sponsor this legislation because he strongly believes HIV-positive individuals must have the resources and support to lead productive lives and must be protected from discrimination.
“These men and women are our neighbors, friends and family members, and they deserve to be treated the same as any other contributing members of our communities,” Price said. “Federal law should reflect the fact that these individuals aren’t defined by their diagnosis.”
Chaney also said because of advances in medicine and technology, these biases against people with HIV/AIDS are outdated.
Lee Storrow, executive director of North Carolina AIDS Action Network, said the current policies in place discriminating against people with HIV/AIDS are based on an understanding of science that dates back to the start of the epidemic decades ago.
Storrow said Price had backed many HIV/AIDS issues in the past, so the North Carolina AIDS Action Network asked Price if he would co-sponsor the bill.
“We’re really thrilled and pleased that he officially did sign on a few weeks after our request of him,” Storrow said.
The legislation has yet to be signed into law.
Storrow added that he is hopeful the federal legislation will pass and that North Carolina will review its policies and explore better options.
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