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Indiana bill would change sentence enhancements,criminal offenses related to HIV

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Posted at 9:21 PM, Jan 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-19 18:46:39-05

INDIANAPOLIS — A bill is currently working its way through the statehouse that would remove sentence enhancements and criminal offenses related to HIV.

Currently under Indiana law, if someone with HIV knowingly shares their bodily fluids on another person in any way, it is a level 5 felony. Supporters of the bill say that this law is outdated, especially since you can’t get HIV by someone spitting on you.

Carrie Foote has been living with HIV for over 30 years and have been advocating for this law change with the organization HIV Modernization Movement Indiana.

She says this will help educate people more about the medical advancements that have been made.

“There is nothing more stigmatizing then when there is a criminal law the punishes you for something about ourselves that we can’t change — a disease,” Foote said. “We are just living with a disease trying to manage our lives and live well. “

However, not everyone is supporting the bill, including the Indiana State Fraternal Order of Police.

“The practical reality for what police officers face every day — this enhancement is very important,” Ed Merchant, who was representing the Indiana State Fraternal Order of Police at the committee hearing, said. “We just ask that that enhancement remain as it relates to law enforcement and public safety.”

House Bill 1198 was not voted on today but will be at a later date with amendments expected to come forward.

To read more about why the HIV Modernization Movement Indiana is supporting this legislation, click here.