Indiana’s oldest and largest AIDS/HIV service organization has put its support behind an effort to update the state’s HIV laws.
Damien Center president and CEO Alan Witchey said the laws are outdated.
“Early years of the HIV epidemic, there wasn't a good method to, you know, track the blood supply and know whether it was safe. And today we have that,” Witchey said.
People with HIV would no longer be subject to harsher criminal penalties under legislation that advanced out of a house committee Wednesday. House bill 1198 would eliminate part of Indiana law that says individuals who know they have HIV and donate blood can be punished with a felony.
Witchey said the need to update the laws was brought into the forefront during a summer legislative study committee.
“It's really an opportunity to build the education and knowledge of the people who are passing the laws in our state,” Witchey said.
Witchey said legislators have an opportunity this year to focus on health care and raise the bar to make Indiana more competitive with other states.