House Bill 1325 – Modernizing Indiana’s Public Health Communicable Disease Laws (Introduced January 2019)

Representative Authors/Coauthors:

  • Ed Clere (R-District 72 – Most of Floyd County)
  • Dr. Tim Brown (R-District 41 – Parts of Montgomery, Boone and Tippecanoe counties)
  • Robin Shackleford (D-District 98- Parts of East Marion County)
  • Tony Cook (R-District 32 – Tipton County and parts of Hamilton, Howard, Grant, Madison, and Delaware counties)

Click Here – Fact Sheet on HB 1325 (Forthcoming)
Click Here – Fact Sheet on Law Reform related to HIV and Blood Products Donations/Artificial Insemination

HB 1325 modernizes Public Health Communicable Disease Laws to reflect current HIV prevention and treatment science, and best criminal law practices, as it:

  • Removes counterproductive State Health Dept. reporting practices regarding people living with HIV or HBV.
  • Ensures that safe HIV conception practices are used for artificial insemination services.
  • Updates HIV information that the state health dept. must provide to a pregnant woman living with HIV.
  • Removes harmful requirements and criminal penalties for people living with HIV or HBV to disclose their disease to a partner.
  • Removes criminal penalties for using artificial insemination by men living with HIV. 
  • Amends the informed consent information provided to potential blood/plasma donors regarding HIV screening, reporting and criminal liabilities.
  • Adds criminal penalties for intentionally transmitting HIV or HBV and legal standards for the courts in this regards.
  • Provides for privacy measures when charged with intentional disease transmission.

Why is Modernization Needed?

Several outdated Indiana laws (from the 80s/90s) single out and harshly punish people living with HIV (PLHIV) for alleged nondisclosure, or exposure, of HIV status, regardless of whether the PLHIV had any criminal intent to cause harm, regardless of whether their behavior was scientifically likely to cause harm, and regardless of whether HIV transmission ever occurred. Some laws also target people living with Hepatitis and Tuberculosis.  These laws were largely based on irrational fears about people with HIV and our limited understanding of HIV science at the time. In the years since, medical science has greatly improved our understanding of HIV (e.g., there are extremely effective methods of preventing HIV transmission and effective treatments have dramatically lengthened and improved the quality of life for people living with HIV).  We need to modernize these laws to account for current scientific HIV knowledge and to reflect best criminal legal practices. 

Modernization will promote public health efforts to end the Indiana HIV epidemic by reducing HIV-related stigma and discrimination, eliminating barriers to HIV testing and treatment, and aligning laws with current HIV science.

Why are these laws a Problem in Indiana?

  • They create a disincentive to seek HIV testing and treatment.
  • They exacerbate stigma, which is the number one barrier to ending the HIV epidemic. 
  • They restrict access to fertility services for men living with HIV.
  • Hundreds of ‘Hoosiers’ have come into contact with the criminal justice system, and/or been subject to stigmatizing public health policies, under these laws.
  • Many have been sentenced to custody/confinement, which is costly to the state and tax payers with no public health benefit.
  • They disproportionately impact people of color and other vulnerable communities, and have caused tremendous individual harms to people living with HIV and their families.
  • There is no evidence that these laws contribute anything towards the intended goal of reducing HIV transmission. 
  • They are counterproductive to public health efforts to end the HIV epidemic in Indiana.

Who supports this Bill? 

HB 1325 is supported by public health officials because laws that punish and stigmatize people living with HIV discourage people from getting tested and from seeking treatment, which impedes public health objectives of eliminating transmission of HIV and optimizing care outcomes for those living with HIV.  HB 1325 would remove discrimination and stigma for people living with HIV and further public health efforts to encourage HIV testing, treatment and care.   Therefore HB 1325 will help end the HIV epidemic in Indiana and optimize care outcomes. Supporting Entities include:  

How can you help?

  • Join our HMM listserv to stay informed on the latest modernization efforts in Indiana.
  • List your Organization as a supporter of modernizing Indiana’s HIV specific public health/criminal laws.
  • Call or meet with your state elected representatives and discuss your concerns about outdated HIV public health codes and HIV criminalization; also educate them on HIV 101.
  • Host a community forum to educate on HIV, criminalization and why these laws need to be modernized.
  • Speak out when you learn someone is being charged under an outdated HIV criminal law.

Visit here for more Frequently Asked Questions.