New Democracy Maps


LGBTQ people—particularly gay and bisexual men, transgender women and LGBTQ people of color—are disproportionately impacted by HIV. They comprise a large share of people living with HIV and the majority of new diagnoses. People living with HIV, including LGBTQ people, face a patchwork of outdated and reactionary laws that rely on misinformation rather than accurate science about the transmission of HIV.  Recent efforts to permit healthcare providers to refuse to provide care to patients threaten the ability of people living with HIV to access the care they need. 

The following resources examine the impact of HIV criminalization laws, including a spotlight on the issue and maps showing the various state laws across the country, and healthcare religious exemptions laws.

Related Resources


HIV Criminalization Laws: Map

HIV criminalization laws criminalize the transmission of, or perceived exposure to, HIV and other infectious diseases. The laws create a strong disincentive for being tested for HIV, and result in adverse public health outcomes. Some laws also criminalize behaviors, such as spitting, that have no risk of HIV transmission.


Healthcare Laws and Policies

Health care laws and policies impact many areas of LGBTQ people's lives, from insurance coverage to protections for LGBTQ youth.


Religious Refusals in Health Care: A Prescription for Disaster

March 2018 - MAP and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) released a new report, Religious Refusals in Health Care: A Prescription for Disaster, examining the coordinated efforts at the federal and state level to allow medical providers to legally discriminate and deny needed care. These policies could encourage doctors, hospitals, paramedics, and other medical providers to pick and choose which patients they will treat, and who receives medically-necessary treatment.


LGBT Policy Spotlight
HIV Criminalization Laws

December 2016 - This LGBT Policy Spotlight focuses on HIV criminalization laws, which can carry harsh penalties for behaviors now proven to have no risk of transmitting HIV. These laws endanger public health by perpetuating dangerous stigma and misinformation about HIV, creating a strong disincentive for individuals to find out their HIV status, and disproportionately targeting LGBT people.


Unjust: How the Broken Criminal Justice System Fails LGBT People

February 2016 - Pervasive stigma and discrimination, biased enforcement of laws, and discriminatory policing strategies mean that LGBT people are disproportionately likely to interact with law enforcement and to have their lives criminalized. LGBT people are also treated unfairly once they enter the system; this report shows how they are overrepresented in jails and prisons and face abuse while incarcerated.


Video: Unjust: How the Broken Criminal Justice System Fails LGBT People

February 2016 - Created by the Movement Advancement Project and the Center for American Progress, this video gives a short overview of the issues raised in the report Unjust: How the Broken Criminal Justice System Fails LGBT People.


Unjust: Infographics

February 2016 - From the pages of Unjust come a set of infographics, including: 'Disproportionate Criminalization Of LGBT People,' 'Life After Conviction: LGBT People Face Added Challenges To Rebuilding Their Lives,' 'Understanding The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA),' and more.

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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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