Pennsylvania HIV Justice Alliance

Pennsylvania HIV Justice Alliance (PA-HJA).

PA-HJA is a coalition of Pennsylvanians living with HIV and strategic allies that speaks with a collective voice to enhance the quality of life and secure a just future for people living with HIV. Our work is inspired by the Denver Principles and is grounded in racial justice and gender justice.

Pictured above, our founding members, in Milford, PA in 2019.

We are building an intersectional, cross-movement, values-aligned coalition to destigmatize and decriminalize HIV in Pennsylvania

HIV criminalization is the wrongful use of a person’s HIV status in a criminal prosecution for behaviors which would not be crimes if the person was not living with HIV. There is little legal or other support available for those charged with HIV-related crimes, yet the consequences of being charged are severe and can have long-term impact on the health and well being of the person living with HIV, their family and their community, even after leaving the criminal legal system.

Criminalization is never a solution to health challenges. A response rooted in policing and criminalization not only undermines public health and human rights, but jeopardizes the long-term survival of our communities.

One of PA-HJA’s core organizing principles is the Meaningful Involvement of People Living with HIV/AIDS (MIPA). MIPA means centering the voices of people living with HIV, with particular attention to those most affected, including diversity, marginalization, and lack of resources. This includes looking at who is at the table and how the decision-making process occurs. The collective voices and organized leadership of people living with HIV is essential to changing laws that most impact people living with or affected by HIV.

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