Equality Florida Applauds Introduction of HIV Modernization Bills

Equality Florida Applauds Introduction of HIV Modernization Bills
Common Sense Approach to Ending HIV

TALLAHASSEE, FL - Florida’s outdated HIV-specific laws can finally be modernized to reflect decades of progress in the fight against HIV. South Florida lawmakers, Senator Jason Pizzo (D-Miami) and Representative Nicholas Duran (D-Miami), filed on Tuesday Senate Bill 626 and House Bill 427, HIV Modernization, that will align Florida law with the modern understanding of HIV. Modernizing these laws must be an integral part of any efforts of the End the HIV Epidemic by 2030 Plan, a public health initiative implemented by the Trump Administration.

Last session, HIV Modernization legislation advanced through two House committees and was adopted by an amendment in a Senate committee before the clock ran out. “The need for these changes is clear: both the Center for Disease Control and the Department of Justice have issued recent guidance to reform the HIV transmission laws in order to better align them with public health goals and contemporary science,” said Senator Pizzo.

As a founding member of the Florida HIV Justice Coalition, Equality Florida commends Senator Pizzo and Representative Duran, and supports these efforts which can profoundly impact the lives of all Floridians, not only those who are living with HIV. For example, the bill would align Florida law with the Federal HIV Organ Policy Equality Act of 2013, which allows life-saving organ donations by people living with HIV to recipients living with HIV, and reducing waitlists for everyone on the transplant list, regardless of HIV status. It will also recognize the advances in HIV treatment like Undectectable=Unstransmittable, as well as new prevention methods like PrEP.

“Research indicates that although modern medical treatments have significantly reduced the risk of transmitting and acquiring HIV, HIV-related stigma is one of the primary reasons people do not get tested or continue treatment for HIV,” said Representative Duran. “This stigma is in part perpetuated by outdated criminal laws that this bill will help tear down to encourage proper testing and treatment.” Furthermore, in a recent press conference, Lt. Governor Jeanette Núñez stated that Florida should “treat HIV like other chronic illnesses to help reduce stigma and discrimination."

“This legislation will positively impact the fight against HIV transmissions and HIV stigma. The time has come to end HIV, and changing these laws is just common-sense progress that we should have been addressed years ago,” said Alejandro Acosta, Equality Florida’s HIV Project Coordinator. “Our laws must reflect good science.”






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