Iowa LGBT and HIV/AIDS-help organizations celebrated a victory May 30 when Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed an HIV Bill that will overturn the existing measures against those with HIV and AIDS.
Previously Iowa’s predated laws criminalized HIV transmission, forcing people with HIV who knowingly exposed another person with up to 25 years in prison. Even if they used a condom, they could still be jailed for their decision.
Now, instead of a “one size fits all” approach, the converts will be sentenced into a tiered system.
“For my friends Nick, Leslie, Donald and so many others, this law will be life-changing,” said Tami Haugh, Community Organizer with CHAIN. “No longer will Nick, Leslie or Donald live in fear of persecution just because they have HIV. Simply having HIV is not a crime, and it’s time for our laws here in Iowa and across the country to reflect his fact.”
Iowa became the first state in the nation to reform HIV criminalization laws.
“We are grateful for this historic moment when our Governor signed this bill—a much-needed modernization of our HIV laws that was delivered to him by a unanimous legislature and a committed grassroots effort,” said Donna Red Wing, Executive Director of One Iowa, in a statement. “However, it’s important to note that there is still work to be done within the community to dispel the stigma, harmful stereotypes and misinformation often associated with HIV.”
One Iowa will continue to work towards LGBT-equality within the state.