Biden Justice Dept. says HIV is a disability, so sex workers who carry it can’t face extra charges

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By BRETT ROWLAND | THE CENTER SQUARE

Tennessee’s enforcement of its aggravated prostitution law against people living with HIV violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday, warning that continued enforcement could result in a federal lawsuit.

The Justice Department said the state, including the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office violated the ADA, the landmark 1990 federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. Tennessee’s Attorney General could not immediately be reached for comment after hours on Friday. 

The Justice Department’s investigation found that the state and the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office “subject people living with HIV to harsher criminal penalties solely because of their HIV status, violating Title II of the ADA.” Tennessee is the only state in the U.S. that requires lifetime registration as a violent sex offender if convicted of aggravated prostitution, regardless of whether the person knew they could transmit the disease. 

“Tennessee’s aggravated prostitution law is outdated, has no basis in science, discourages testing and further marginalizes people living with HIV,” said Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “People living with HIV should not be treated as violent sex offenders for the rest of their lives solely because of their HIV status.”

The Justice Department findings were detailed in an 11-page letter to Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti.

“The State and the [Shelby County District Attorney’s Office] discriminate against individuals with disabilities by enforcing Tennessee’s aggravated prostitution statute, which elevates to a felony conduct that would otherwise be a misdemeanor, solely because the individual charged knows they have HIV, regardless of any actual risk of harm,” according to the letter. “Aggravated prostitution is also categorized as a ‘violent sexual offense’ mandating registration on the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry, in most cases for life.”

The state’s aggravated prostitution statute is a felony. A person convicted of aggravated prostitution faces three to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A person convicted of a misdemeanor prostitution charge faces a sentence of no more than six months and up to a $500 fine. The aggravated prostitution statute applies statewide, but the Justice Department said it has been enforced most frequently in Shelby County, the largest county in the state.

The Justice Department’s investigation found that the state and the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office “subject people living with HIV to harsher criminal penalties solely because of their HIV status, violating Title II of the ADA.”

Tennessee is the only state in the U.S. that requires lifetime registration as a violent sex offender if convicted of aggravated prostitution, regardless of whether the person knew they could transmit the disease. 

“Tennessee’s aggravated prostitution law is outdated, has no basis in science, discourages testing and further marginalizes people living with HIV,” said Kristen Clarke, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “People living with HIV should not be treated as violent sex offenders for the rest of their lives solely because of their HIV status.”

The Justice Department findings were detailed in an 11-page letter to Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti.

“The State and the [Shelby County District Attorney’s Office] discriminate against individuals with disabilities by enforcing Tennessee’s aggravated prostitution statute, which elevates to a felony conduct that would otherwise be a misdemeanor, solely because the individual charged knows they have HIV, regardless of any actual risk of harm,” according to the letter. “Aggravated prostitution is also categorized as a ‘violent sexual offense’ mandating registration on the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry, in most cases for life.”

The state’s aggravated prostitution statute is a felony. A person convicted of aggravated prostitution faces three to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. A person convicted of a misdemeanor prostitution charge faces a sentence of no more than six months and up to a $500 fine. The aggravated prostitution statute applies statewide, but the Justice Department said it has been enforced most frequently in Shelby County, the largest county in the state.

The Friday announcement coincided with World AIDS Day, an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic. Untreated HIV can lead to AIDS.

24 COMMENTS

      • timinwasilla, yes. Recent research shows pedophiles have a genetic component predisposing them to their predilection for sexually abusing children (J Parrington, PhD and Cantor). Therefore, according to your apparent logic, pedophiles should be immune to prosecution by virtue of their disability?

        I got more news for you. An addictive personality has also been shown to be a genetic feature. Consequently, people with such genotypes would be immune from prosecution for drunk driving, using methamphetamines, or even serial murder.

        Got more news for you. We are all born as dirty, rotten-to-the-core, sinners. Its referred to as the fallen state of mankind. So, according to your leftist logic, we should all be given get-out-of-jail-free cards at birth.

        My oh my, how the leftist mind gets trapped on the slippery slopes of reality.

  1. A communicable disease is not a disability, it can become disabling, but not a disability like losing an arm or a leg. So now those infected can just spread with impunity. When you have a president and handlers that hate America, this is what you get.

    • Jim, your point is valid but I must respond. Every disease is a disability. In fact, we are all disabled to some degree. However, our central totalitarian government has created a social order of privileges based upon ranking disabilities. Do not fall into the trap of accepting this tyranny. Behold parking lots with a dozen empty handicap parking spots on the busiest shopping days. There is no end to this agenda.

  2. Well, well. Is it bad enough yet? Bongino keeps asking this question and I have to say “nope, not yet, but maybe moving in that direction?” Will we, the conservatives vote EVERY SINGLE democrat out of office in 2024? Not until it is bad enough people.

  3. Justice Department Settles Three HIV Discrimination Cases
    Content From: David W. Knight, J.D., Trial Attorney, Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice•
    Published:
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>February 14, 2013<<<<< Look at the date. The precedent was set then

  4. Using a biological weapon during war is a violation of the 1925 Geneva Conventions and at least two international treaties since them. US is signatory to them (1925, 1949, a pair of Protocols in 1977, 1978).

    The Biden regime is saying it is just ducky with using WMD within the US, redefining it as a disability. The same logic would treat the use of a chemical weapon as a pollutant leak, a nuke or dirty bomb as an unlawful discharge of a weapon within city limits. There’s always an excuse for them. Cheers –

  5. What ever became of the “Monkey Pox” virus?
    What day is “World Monkey Pox” day?
    Will the monkey pox vaccine be mandated to join the military?
    Was that another one of Fauci’s experiment leaks?
    Lots of unanswered questions here….

    • It quit being the deflection issue of the day.

      It was a disease which spread primarily through the participants of a massive gay orgy. There were some cases which allegedly were linked to adult/child sexuality contact, but I don’t remember if that was proven accurate.

      Summary seems to be it was a useful distraction, but not good enough to move the culture needle so the left moved on like it had never happened.

    • It made for good scary public heath headlines for the goyim, until it was pointed out that it was being spread through gay orgies. Social media bans handed out, until it indeed, turned out to be exactly what was occurring.

      And then small children and pet dogs started getting it – and it suddenly became VERY important to change the name of the disease and never speak about it again.

  6. You can not legislate morality, or the oldest profession in the Universe, a total waste of time and resources

    • And yet, Frank, the Justice Department put out a memo that said individuals who intentionally spread the coronavirus disease (e.g., by coughing on other people) could face terrorism charges for the “purposeful exposure and infection of others.” But you don’t ever think beyond your contrary next thought. And yes, you can legislate morality, as in, murder is a crime, theft is a crime, but being an idiot is not really a crime…thank goodness for you.

      • How many investigations and indictments for your deep state memo, any Comer House hearings to be aware of? There is an actual Justice Dept memo that states the greatest terroist threat in the US is from far right white Nationalists.

        • don’t forget those pesky FAR RIGHT Terrorist parents interfering with the state Schueled LGBTQIA2WXYZ indoctrination of their children theyre the worst amirite

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