State Laws Key to HIV Prevention Efforts
In an article for the September issue of Health Affairs, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing (Penn Nursing) explored associations between state-level policies and PrEP uptake. They found that states with HIV criminalization laws (i.e., statutes that criminalize status non-disclosure) had a lower PrEP-to-need ratio, and states with comprehensive nondiscrimination laws for sexual and gender minorities had a higher PrEP-to-need ratio.
“Our study corroborates the growing consensus that HIV criminalization laws offer little to no public health benefit and inhibit HIV prevention efforts,” says Stephen Bonett, PhD, RN, the first author of the article, and postdoctoral fellow at Penn Nursing’s Program for Sexuality, Technology and Action Research (PSTAR).
“Given the evolving state of HIV prevention and the growing body of evidence showing that HIV criminalization may hinder public health efforts, state governments should move toward repealing HIV criminalization laws,” the authors write. “In addition, legislative efforts should be directed toward improving access to HIV treatment and prevention and reducing stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV.”
The article, “State-Level Discrimination Policies and HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Adoption Efforts in the U.S.” is set for publication this fall. Co-authors of the article include Steven Meanley, PhD, MPH, and José Bauermeister, PhD, MPH, both of Penn Nursing; Steven Elsesser, MD of Penn Medicine.