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New York State Lawmaker to File STI Decriminalization Bill

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New York State Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas announced Thursday, World AIDS Day, that she will introduce a bill to decriminalize the sexual activity of people living with sexually transmitted infections.The bill would repeal New York State Public Health Law 2307, a 76-year-old law that makes it a misdemeanor for any person with a known STI to have sexual intercourse with another.

The bill would also expunge any prior convictions. Currently, the statute has no exceptions for cases when a person with a known STI discloses their status, is undetectable, or uses protection — it broadly criminalizes all sexual activity regardless of harm reduction activity.

By repealing Public Health Law 2307, New York would join 12 other states that have either repealed or amended HIV criminalization laws.“On this World AIDS Day, I’m honored to join advocates in announcing that I’m introducing legislation to finally decriminalize the sexual activity of people living with sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV,” González-Rojas, a member of the Assembly Health Committee and currently one of two queer legislators of color in the New York State legislature, said in a press release. “New Yorkers living with HIV or other STIs already face barriers to accessing the care and support they need, and criminalizing them for sexual behavior only perpetuates racial inequities and stigma rather than combat transmission.

Our laws should reflect modern-day science. We know that increasing access to testing, treatment, and other resources helps to curb the transmission of STIs, not criminalization.

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