Personal Rights, Public Health : The Failure of Criminal HIV Laws in the United States
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The fierce conflict between those who prioritize personal health, autonomy, and privacy of individuals and those who prioritize the health of the "general public" has raged through the entire history of HIV criminalization. One group believed that criminal HIV laws were inherently discriminatory and damaging to PLWHAs, the other believed they were essential to halt the spread of HIV further. Their differences in goals and values seemed irreconcilable. The author argues the falsity of this belief. Both groups have one fundamental goal: to stop HIV. All it takes is a shift in perspective, and suddenly their objectives overlap so easily that it seems almost absurd that they do not cooperate. The paper explores the history of criminal HIV laws, and the stigmatizing atmosphere from which they spring, as well as the evolution of alternatives to criminalization that compelling evidence shows can address the concerns of both camps without the damaging consequences found in criminal law.