HENDERSON, NV – Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak today signed into law landmark legislation to reform outdated Nevada laws that criminalized and stigmatized people living with HIV. Senate Bill (SB) 275 was introduced by Senator Dallas Harris, received bipartisan support in the Senate, and it was supported by a broad alliance of advocacy groups, public health professionals, civil rights organizations and health care providers including Silver State Equality, Nevada’s statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, and a partner of the Nevada HIV Modernization Coalition.
Senate Bill (SB) 275, introduced by Sen. Dallas Harris, won approval with a unanimous vote in the Nevada Senate and by a 26-15 vote in the Assembly. The bill now moves to the Governor for his signature.
On the importance of signing the bill into law Governor Sisolak said:
“Nevada is known as a warm and welcoming place for all– in our State, we celebrate our diversity. I am so grateful to sign legislation to ensure that our LGBTQ+ community feels safe, protected and can continue to grow and flourish in the Silver State. Senate Bill 275, sponsored by Senator Harris and presented in partnership with André Wade and former Senator David Parks, modernizes Nevada’s HIV criminal laws and reestablishes the Advisory Task Force on HIV Exposure Modernization for the 2021-2022 Legislative Interim. We know that laws that criminalize people living with HIV don’t stop the spread, but they actually hurt our public health efforts.”
Silver State Equality released the following statement from State Director André C. Wade:
“Today, Nevada recognizes HIV as a public health issue, not a criminal one. issue. With his signature, Governor Sisolak has moved Nevada HIV laws into the 21st century by aligning them with modern science, ultimately helping to reduce stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV. When people are no longer penalized for knowing their status, it encourages them to come forward, get tested and get treatment. That’s good for all Nevadans. The HIV epidemic will end not by threatening people with criminal prosecution, but instead, by encouraging people to get tested, and by providing them access to care. Today’s signing is especially great news for Nevada communities of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community, who are disproportionately impacted by HIV.”
Senator Dallas Harris, Co-Chair of the Advisory Task Force on HIV Exposure Modernization, said:
“Nevada state law will no longer discourage Nevadans from getting tested for HIV. With the Governor’s signature today, we are helping to reduce the stigma that keeps some from learning their HIV status and getting treatment. I want to thank Governor Sisolak for his actions that are keeping Nevada at the forefront in the fight to stop the spread of HIV. Much work remains to be done, but I’m optimistic that eventually these discriminatory criminal laws targeting those living with HIV will be eliminated throughout the country.”
Statement from the Co-Chairs of the Nevada HIV Modernization Coalition – Connie Shearer, Chris Reynolds, and Stephan Page:
“The Nevada HIV Modernization Coalition members would like to thank Senators David Parks and Dallas Harris for their unwavering commitment to modernizing Nevada’s laws that were stigmatizing and harmful. The passing of SB275 is a great step forward toward ending the unwarranted criminalization of people living with HIV in Nevada and it supports science. This in turn supports and promotes public health for all Nevadans.”
A Statement from Connie Shearer, Co-Chair Nevada HIV Modernization Coalition:
The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation issued the following statement:
“The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation salutes Governor Sisolak for signing much needed legislative reform for people living with HIV represented in SB 275. We are grateful for the leadership of Senator Harris in championing this bill. We congratulate the Nevada HIV Modernization Coalition and Silver State Equality for their hard work in achieving this long-awaited reform. With the voice of our founder, Elizabeth Taylor, we stand with all organizations throughout the country who are striving to reform these discriminatory laws. We are appreciative for the opportunity to have been of support in Nevada.”
For more information, visit www.silverstateequality.org/hiv.
As Nevada’s statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, Silver State Equality brings the voices of LGBTQ+ people and allies to institutions of power in Nevada and throughout the U.S. Silver State Equality strives to create a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ+ people. Silver State Equality is a Nevada-based program affiliated with and supported by Equality California and Equality California Institute, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization. More information at SilverStateEquality.org.