By Neal Broverman
Originally published on Advocate.com July 28 2012 12:49 PM ET
A new study of 2,000 people with HIV found that 25% of respondents say they know someone who won't get tested for HIV because they fear they will be prosecuted if they test positive.
The Sero Project, a group that battles HIV stigma and attempts to end "inappropriate" criminal prosecutions for people not disclosing their HIV status, conducted the survey this summer. Half of respondents said it was appropriate for someone not to get tested because of possible prosecution,while over 40% said it was reasonable for someone to not access HIV care because of criminalization fears.
Thirty-six states and territories have laws criminalizing HIV exposure and/or non-disclousre of HIV status during sex or other contact with body fluids, like blood or saliva, according to The Center for HIV Law & Policy.
According to the Sero Project study, released this week as part of the International AIDS Conference, a larger percentage of people in the South and Midwest expressed fear about being thrown in prison for their HIV status.