UPDATE 7/27/21: HB 1063 was signed into law by Governor Pritzker. Read more here.
Illinois’ HIV criminalization law is outdated, dangerous, and discriminatory. Under current law, people living with HIV (PLWH) face the threat of arrest, prosecution, and incarceration due to their HIV status, even if they do not transmit HIV to another person.
House Bill 1063 repeals this harmful law and modernizes how we approach this public health issue in Illinois.
HIV criminalization does not improve safety or public health in Illinois. Instead, it harms and stigmatizes PLWH, their families, and their communities. The current discriminatory Illinois law:
- Makes otherwise legal behavior – like consensual sex – illegal.
- Adds harsher penalties for ordinarily minor crimes like sharing drug injection equipment.
- Threatens PLWH with arrest, prosecution, and incarceration even if they do not transmit HIV to another person.
- Threatens PLWH with arrest, prosecution, and incarceration if they cannot prove they disclosed their HIV status.
- Provides PLWH with longer prison sentences simply because of their HIV status.
This law is based on incorrect assumptions about HIV transmission and has damaging consequences. Not a single study shows that HIV criminalization has led to reduced HIV transmission. HIV criminalization is ineffective and dangerous because it discourages testing, treatment, and disclosure — all of which are key to preventing the spread of HIV and ending the epidemic. Criminalization also renders people living with HIV vulnerable to private misconduct, like blackmail and coercion. Illinois’ current law is discriminatory because it unfairly targets PLWH and disproportionately affects LGBTQ+ people, women, and Black and Brown communities.
Thank Governor Pritzker for signing HB 1063