The 21st Show

The History And Harm of Illinois’ Criminal HIV Law


The Illinois General Assembly passed a law that made it a crime to not disclose one’s HIV status in certain situations in 1989. In the decades since, the law has been used to charge people — disproportiantely Black and brown people — with felonies for not disclosing their HIV status before having sex. Now an overwhelming majority of Illinois lawmakers have voted to repeal that law.

The 21st spoke to a social justice reporter, managing director of the SERO Project and Head of Government Affairs at AIDS Foundation Chicago to hear more about the history of this law and what its repeal would mean for Illinois and those living with HIV.


Adam Rhodes, Social justice reporter for Chicago Reader, who recently wrote a piece and co-published by Chicago Reader and Injustice Watch titled "The history and harm behind Illinois' criminal HIV transmission law.” 

Tami Haught, Managing Director of SERO Project

Timothy Jackson, Head of Government Affairs at AIDS Foundation Chicago and lead lobbyist of the most recent bill which will replace IL’s 1989 law

Prepared for web by Zainab Qureshi

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