ONAP’s Harold Phillips Discusses HIV Criminalization

Content From: HIV.govPublished: February 27, 20232 min read


To commemorate tomorrow’s observance of HIV Is Not a Crime Awareness Day, HIV.gov recently spoke with Harold J. Phillips, MRP, Director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy about HIV criminalization for our latest FYI video series. WatchExit Disclaimer to hear directly from Mr. Phillips as he discusses HIV criminalization and the importance of modernizing HIV criminalization laws.

Mr. Phillips will also participate in the ChangeLab Solutions, Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation, and CDC national roundtable discussion on legal, health, and equity considerations related to HIV criminalization on February 28 at 10am PT/1:00pm ET.  The webinar will highlight the importance of HIV decriminalization, CDC’s new HIV Criminalization Legal and Policy Assessment tool, and the path toward a more equitable future. Register for the webinar hereExit Disclaimer.

The FYI HIV.gov videoExit Disclaimer is part of Mr. Phillips’ work to implement the National HIV/AIDS Strategy’s (NHAS) call to repeal and reform outdated state HIV criminalization laws to reduce HIV-related stigma and discrimination. As we know, HIV-related stigma and discrimination present complex obstacles to accessing HIV services for people with or who experience risk for HIV.

Many of these criminalization laws were implemented when very little was known about the transmission of HIV and how to prevent and treat the virus. HIV criminalization laws, which are non-evidence-based, disproportionately impact some of the NHAS’s priority populations, including people of color, women, and transgender individuals. Mr. Phillips stated, “for us in the White House, [this] is a health equity and social justice issue that needs to be addressed because it is getting in the way of us achieving our HIV goals as a nation.”

WatchExit Disclaimer the video to learn more and read Mr. Phillips' blog on HIV criminalization from last September.