Last month AIDS United joined advocates in Jackson, Mississippi, for an AIDSWatch at Home centered around both HIV decriminalization and stigma towards Mississippians living with HIV.
Advocating and learning how to advocate at a state-governmental level has proven to be an invaluable resource for protecting people living with and vulnerable to HIV. This is exactly why the AIDSWatch team has and will continue to hold our national event and expand AIDSWatch at Home to support state-based advocacy events.
State advocates are shaping what their advocacy days will look like and when they’d ideally be held, and the AIDS United team is taking care to work collaboratively to determine how these will operate.
In 2023, the AIDS United team is well on their way to supporting some exciting state policy work and expanding the AIDSWatch model in some new ways responsive to the current policy landscape and advocates’ needs. Along with Mississippi, five other states — Alabama, California, Georgia, Florida and Louisiana — were selected with consideration to the tailored federal Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative, state partners, key state bills and advocacy movements, and other factors.
HIV is not a crime.
Mississippi is one of several states in the United States with laws that criminalizes HIV. The Mississippi law has a broad HIV exposure law that can be applied to any sort of exposure and states that if a person living with HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C knowingly exposes another person, they can be charged with a felony. This law is rooted in stigma against those living with HIV and has counter productive effects in a state that has one of the highest rates of HIV, according to World Population Review, with Black residents disproportionately at risk.
Want to host, or get updates on an AIDSWatch at Home in your state?
- For updates on AIDSWatch at Home, be on the lookout for updates from us, AIDS United, or reach out to your local HIV service organizations as more details become available.
- If your organization is interested in being a part of hosting an AIDSWatch at Home event in Alabama, California, Georgia, Florida or Louisiana, or potentially in another, contact the AIDS United policy team at firstname.lastname@example.org.