Stigma, HIV Law, and HIV Testing Among Offenders Under Community Supervision

Monday, July 14, 2014: 3:45 PM
Room: 422
Oral Presentation
Bronwen LICHTENSTEIN , Criminal Justice, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Brad BARBER , Tuscaloosa Field Office, Alabama Probation and Parole Office, Tuscaloosa, AL
In 2010, the U.S. Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) promoted a national strategy for HIV testing and linkage to care (“test and treat”), with emphasis on communities at risk. Potential barriers to HIV testing were cited, including HIV laws that criminalized non-disclosure to sexual partners. In order to identify such barriers, this study assessed knowledge and attitudes toward mandatory disclosure and HIV testing among 197 probationers and parolees in a southern state. Over two-thirds of participants had heard about the law (69.2%) and most believed that it was fair (85.5%). Most participants also supported HIV testing for offenders under community supervision (68%). Despite this support, 66.5% of participants believed that the law was a barrier to HIV testing because of fear, stigma, and potential for arrest. Perceptions of HIV/AIDS as a crime and non-disclosure as murder suggest increased stigma and resistance to “test and treat” among convicted offenders.