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Group holds educational talks on Michigan's new HIV laws

Posted at 9:57 AM, Sep 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-13 09:57:43-04

LANSING, Mich. — New HIV laws in Michigan are reducing the punishment for not reporting that you have the condition.

LGBTQ+ advocates are touring the state to let people know about the changes.

Community conversations about the taboo topic are starting to warm up across the state to educate people about the latest research on HIV.

"Now we have a blue pill you can take everyday to prevent HIV we didn't have that before, PREP," L. Michael Gibson of Black Bear Brotherhood said.

Strides in medicine are making the HIV virus undetectable with the proper treatment and Michigan's law is getting in alignment with those changes.

"People living with HIV, if they suppress their virus through medication, they won't be able to transmit it to anyone else," Gibson said.

LGBTQ+ advocates say Michigan's HIV disclosure laws are now reflective with the advancement in science.

The new law makes it a misdemeanor to not tell a partner about a positive status if the virus is viral undetectable and a condom is used during sexual contact.

"Now the law recognizes that if somebody's virally suppressed and taking their meds and they can prove that they're not a danger, or in this instance they won't be able to transmit HIV to someone else," Gibson said.

Community health awareness groups say the changes to the law helps reduce the number of felony convictions for people who could be punished even after disclosure.

"There were people who did orally, but didn't do so in writing, didn't do so in front of a third person, because that's not how people would disclose anyway," Gibson said.

"Say they break-up, they would say, 'well they didn't tell me the HIV status,' so we have people behind bars who actually did disclose their HIV status but through retaliation were placed behind bars anyway."

Non-disclosure can still carry felony offenses if the person living with the virus intentionally transmits the illness to a partner.

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