Sign On! Demand Meaningful Action by the CDC Against Criminalization!
t’s bad enough that the criminalization of HIV wreaks havoc in the lives of those who are charged or jailed or labeled as bio-terrorists, like this case in Michigan.
But these cases are also spreading misinformation about HIV — scaring people away from testing, treatment and care, and feeding into HIV stigma.
So what is CDC doing about this?
Over a year ago, many of you joined together to call for CDC to combat the stigmatization and criminalization of HIV.
We received a heartening response last December. CDC pledged to:
1. update their website, factsheets and Q&As to address these issues;
2. develop internal talking points so CDC staff will deliver “consistent, scientifically accurate information” when they receive inquiries;
3. make these talking points available to health departments;
4. survey state health departments to see if they collaborate with criminal justice personnel (e.g., local prosecutors, correctional staff, law enforcement) and how they communicate on and address these issues; and
5. develop a communications strategy plan and tools that state health departments can use to “initiate (or further enhance) dialogue and collaboration with their criminal justice counterparts.”
Not bad for a start.
But then almost a year passed, with no visible action. We wrote to CDC and asked what was up.
Well, not as much as we’d hoped. They say they are moving ahead on the updated materials but have dropped the plans for both the survey and the communications campaign.