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The Fight to Decriminalize HIV Status in Ohio

Kim Welter (she/her) of Equality Ohio and Randle Moore (he/him) of Equitas Health sat down to talk about OHMM and the work to decriminalize HIV status in Ohio.

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HIV is not a crime Awareness Day observed on February 28th

Rep. Liston files resolution to recognize December 1 as World AIDS Day in Ohio

The Ohio Health Modernization Movement (OHMM) is a coalition of organizations and individuals dedicated to ending the criminalization of HIV in Ohio. On April 6, OHMM sent a letter to officials to officials in every Ohio county––including sheriffs, prosecutors and judges.

These are the asks:

  • Non-violent individuals at risk of harm from COVID-19 should be released. Incarcerated populations should be lowered by releasing pre-trial detainees, administrative detainees, cease arrests for breaking old, outdated laws that criminalize people living with HIV.
  • Immediate release of all non-violent individuals at higher risk of harm from COVID-19 infection, including people over 60, and those with underlying health conditions that infectious disease experts say increase their risk, e.g., lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, or a compromised immune system;
  • Rapidly decrease incarcerated populations by releasing people detained pre-trial, people detained for administrative reasons including failure to appear or parole violations, and people serving a sentence of a year or less; and
  • Cease arrests for offenses outlined in Ohio Rev. Code § 2903.11(B)(1), Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.24, Ohio Rev. Code § 241, Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.25, Ohio Rev. Code § 2921.38, and Ohio Rev. Code § 2929.14 that rely on an individual’s HIV status as proof of intent to harm, as well as all low level offenses.


CANAPICaracole Inc.
Equality OhioEquitas Health
William Booth, Miami Valley Positives for PositivesThe AIDS Task Force of Greater Cleveland
The “DIRT “Advocacy MovementThe Sankofa Initiative
We Think 4 a ChangeGraig Cote
Olga Irwin, Positive Women’s NetworkGina Jakeway
Bryan C. Jones, HIV advocate/activistJerry Mallicoat, Rainbow Elder Care of Greater Dayton
Naimah O’Neal, Lateefah’s Haven 




VOICES: HIV diagnosis still brings stigma, legal complications

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Doctors Carlos Malvestutto and Michael Para say anti-science Ohio laws perpetuate fear, sending innocent people with HIV to jail.

For the good of all of us, it is time we modernize HIV laws, writes Infectious disease expert, Dr. Carl Fichtenbaum.

Let’s end the HIV epidemic urges Dr, Yasmin Bradley in the Courier. What does HIV in Ohio look like today? The present looks far better than the past.



Kent woman, Kimberley Gantz, living with HIV for 18 years urges updates to Ohio laws. She tested positive for HIV thanks to a man she dated.


Ohio law codifies fear, discrimination for people living with HIV/AIDS argues Graig Cote, a person living with HIV/AIDS in Columbus. He has been an advocate for people living with HIV/AIDS for more than 30 years.


Ohio HIV Laws must catch up with science and society say Drs. Barbara Gripshover and Ann Avery,  infectious disease specialists in Cleveland.


Medical advances and increasingly affordable medications can now make HIV-positive individuals nontransmissable — if they know their status and seek treatment writes the Editorial Board of and The Plain Dealer


Naimah O’Neal has lived with HIV for 30 years. She was diagnosed in 1992 at the age of 29.


She believes she either got the virus from her husband, who was using substances, or from receiving blood after she broke her arm in her 20s.

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Doctors: Anti-science Ohio laws perpetuate fear, sending innocent people with HIV to jail

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DisruptNow Podcast’s Rob Richardson talks with Infectious disease expert, Dr. Carl Fichtenbaum about how fear drives modern HIV Laws in Ohio and why current HIV Laws are against the public health Interest.