Donate nowConnect Northshore Logo

Welcome to Connect Northshore's comprehensive resource on HIV criminalization in Louisiana. This page serves as a hub for understanding the complex legal and social issues surrounding HIV in our state. Our goal is to provide you with clear, accurate, and accessible information that not only illuminates the historical background of these laws but also delves into the current challenges and the imperative for progressive reform.

As part of our commitment to a fairer Louisiana, we offer a live map from, visually representing HIV prevalence across Louisiana's parishes.

This interactive tool enhances our collective understanding of the impact of HIV in our communities and underscores the necessity of informed advocacy and action.

Join us in exploring the multifaceted aspects of HIV criminalization in Louisiana. Through this page, we aim to educate, engage, and empower our community to actively participate in creating a more just and equitable society for all.

Overview of HIV Criminalization in Louisiana

Join Us for an Important Discussion: #STIGMA ISN'T JUSTICE!


Event Details:

  • Topic: A deep dive into the science of HIV treatment and prevention, and a critical look at Louisiana's outdated HIV laws.
  • Date and Time: Tuesday, November 28th at 6:00 PM.
  • Location: Cutting Edge Theater, 767 Robert Blvd, Slidell.
  • What to Expect: Engage in a community discussion and learn about the real impact of HIV criminal law on people’s lives in Louisiana.
  • Special Offers: Enjoy complimentary food and the opportunity to receive gift cards for completing a brief public opinion survey.

Proudly produced in partnership with LCCH.

Don't miss this chance to be part of an essential conversation and help shape a fairer Louisiana for all. We look forward to seeing you there!

The History of HIV Laws in Louisiana

Louisiana's journey with HIV criminalization laws began in 1987, at a time when fear and misunderstanding of HIV/AIDS were widespread. Originally, these laws were intended to control the spread of the virus, reflecting the limited medical knowledge and social stigma of that era. However, as our understanding of HIV has evolved, it has become increasingly clear that these laws are not only outdated but counterproductive to public health efforts.

Current State of HIV Criminalization Laws

Despite some efforts to update these laws in 2018, significant issues remain:

  • Criminalization of Exposure: Louisiana law penalizes individuals living with HIV for "exposing" others to the virus, regardless of actual transmission or intent.
  • Severe Legal Consequences: Those accused under these laws can face harsh penalties, including felony charges, incarceration, and substantial fines. These consequences extend beyond the legal system, affecting access to housing, employment, and fundamental civil rights.
  • Disproportionate Impact: These laws disproportionately affect marginalized communities, including people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and those with lower socioeconomic status.

Statistics and Facts

  • As of 2023, Louisiana ranks as the 4th highest state in the nation for new HIV diagnoses.
  • A significant percentage of people living with HIV in Louisiana are unaware of their status, underscoring the need for increased testing and education.
  • Studies have shown that criminalization laws do not effectively reduce HIV transmission. Instead, they contribute to stigma and discourage people from seeking testing and treatment.

The Need for Reform

The call for reform is grounded in both human rights and public health perspectives:

  • Human Rights: Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and fairness, regardless of their health status. Criminalization laws create an environment of fear and discrimination, undermining these fundamental principles.
  • Public Health: Modern HIV treatments like antiretroviral therapy (ART) have transformed HIV into a manageable condition. When effectively treated, individuals living with HIV have a negligible risk of transmitting the virus, rendering these punitive laws obsolete.

Understanding the landscape of HIV criminalization in Louisiana is the first step towards meaningful change. Join us at Connect Northshore in advocating for laws that are informed by science, respect human rights, and promote public health. Together, we can work towards a future where the stigma and unfair treatment of people living with HIV are a thing of the past.

Demystifying HIV: Facts, Myths, and Advances in Treatment

At Connect Northshore, we believe in empowering our community through education. This section is dedicated to demystifying HIV by providing accurate, science-based information. Here, we tackle common myths, explain how HIV is transmitted, and discuss the latest advancements in treatment and prevention.

What is HIV?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. If not treated, it can lead to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). However, with modern medical advancements, HIV can be managed effectively, allowing individuals to live long, healthy lives.

How is HIV Transmitted?

HIV is transmitted through certain body fluids from a person living with HIV. These fluids include blood, semen, vaginal and rectal fluids, breast milk, and pre-seminal fluid. It is important to understand that HIV is not transmitted through casual contact, such as hugging, shaking hands, sharing toilets, or through mosquito bites.

Debunking Myths about HIV

Myth: HIV is a death sentence.

Fact: With proper treatment, people living with HIV can lead long and healthy lives.

Myth: HIV can be transmitted through casual contact.

Fact: HIV cannot be transmitted through casual contact, sharing food, or using the same facilities.

Myth: You can tell if someone has HIV by looking at them.

Fact: HIV has no specific physical signs. The only way to know if someone has HIV is through a test.

Advances in HIV Treatment and Prevention

  • Antiretroviral Therapy (ART): ART is a highly effective treatment for HIV. It reduces the viral load in the body to undetectable levels, which not only helps the individual maintain good health but also prevents the transmission of the virus to others.
  • Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP): PrEP is a preventive treatment for people who are at high risk of getting HIV. It involves taking a pill every day to significantly reduce the risk of HIV infection.
  • Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP): PEP is an emergency treatment for individuals who may have been recently exposed to HIV, effective if started within 72 hours of exposure.

The Importance of Testing and Awareness

Regular HIV testing is crucial for both prevention and treatment. Early diagnosis can lead to timely treatment, improving health outcomes and reducing the risk of transmission. Connect Northshore encourages regular HIV testing as a part of routine healthcare.


Understanding HIV is the first step in fighting stigma and fear. With the right information and resources, we can foster a supportive and informed community. Stay informed, stay supportive, and help us create a more inclusive society.

Voices of Resilience: Alisha's Story

At Connect Northshore, we believe in the power of personal experiences to illuminate the realities of living with HIV. In this section, we share Alisha's story, a poignant example of the challenges faced by individuals living with HIV in Louisiana.

Alisha's Journey with HIV

Alisha has been living with HIV for over a decade. Her journey is one of strength and resilience, managing her health and maintaining an undetectable viral load. Her story is not just about living with HIV; it's about the struggles of maintaining personal relationships, dealing with societal stigma, and facing legal challenges.

Marriage, Motherhood, and Stigma

Alisha's marriage and her role as a mother bring to light the societal challenges surrounding HIV. Despite her successful management of the virus, the lack of support from her in-laws and the potential use of her HIV status in her divorce and custody battle show the stigma and discrimination still prevalent in our society.

The Impact of Criminalization Laws on Family Life

The rumors of potential charges for intentional exposure against Alisha on behalf of her daughter highlight the far-reaching implications of HIV criminalization laws. These laws not only affect the individuals living with HIV but also their families, creating an environment of fear and uncertainty.

Alisha's story is a testament to the courage and resilience of those living with HIV. It also serves as a stark reminder of the work that needs to be done in reforming laws and shifting societal attitudes. Join Connect Northshore in our mission to support individuals like Alisha and advocate for change.

Driving Change: Advocacy and Legislative Action Against HIV Criminalization

At Connect Northshore, we are committed to advocacy and legislative action to reform HIV criminalization laws in Louisiana. This section highlights ongoing efforts to change these laws and how you can be a part of this important movement.

Current Legislative Landscape

Louisiana's HIV criminalization laws, rooted in the 1980s, have long been a subject of debate and discussion. In 2018, steps were taken to modernize these laws, but significant challenges remain. These laws, as they stand, continue to perpetuate stigma and hinder public health efforts.

Key Legislative Initiatives

One of the central initiatives in this area is House Resolution 130, which aims to gather parish-specific data on the impact of HIV criminalization. This resolution is critical in understanding the local dynamics and framing more effective, science-based policies.

  • HR 130: Focuses on data collection and analysis to inform policy decisions.
  • Community Involvement: Your participation in surveys and public meetings can help shape this initiative.

Why Advocacy Matters

Advocacy plays a crucial role in shaping public opinion and influencing policy makers. By voicing our concerns and sharing our knowledge, we can help dismantle misconceptions about HIV and push for laws that are just, fair, and based on current scientific understanding.

Calls to Action: How You Can Help

Change begins with you. Here’s how you can contribute to this cause:

  1. Educate Yourself and Others: Stay informed about HIV and the issues surrounding criminalization. Share this knowledge within your networks.
  2. Participate in Surveys and Studies: Engage in parish-specific data collection efforts to help build a stronger case for change.
  3. Attend Public Meetings and Events: Your presence and participation in discussions can have a significant impact.
  4. Contact Your Representatives: Let your local and state representatives know that you support the reform of HIV criminalization laws.
  5. Spread the Word: Use social media and other platforms to raise awareness about this issue.


Together, we can make a difference in the fight against HIV criminalization in Louisiana. Your involvement is crucial in driving change and creating a more informed, empathetic, and just society. Join us at Connect Northshore in this important endeavor.

Empowerment Through Resources: Support for HIV Education and Advocacy

Connect Northshore is dedicated to providing comprehensive resources and support for individuals affected by HIV and those involved in advocacy efforts. This section offers a curated list of resources to educate, support, and empower our community in the journey towards understanding and action.

Educational Resources

Understanding HIV is the first step in combating stigma and advocating for change. Here are some valuable resources for accurate and up-to-date information about HIV:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) HIV Basics: Offers a wealth of information on HIV prevention, transmission, and treatment.
  • A comprehensive resource for HIV and AIDS information, including personal stories and expert advice.
  • AIDSinfo: A service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, providing information on HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention, and research.

Local Support Services

Living with HIV or caring for someone who is can be challenging. These local organizations provide support, healthcare, and community services:

Advocacy Groups

Joining an advocacy group can be a powerful way to contribute to the fight against HIV criminalization. Here are some groups actively working in this area:

Mental Health Resources

Mental health is crucial in the fight against HIV. These resources offer support and counseling:

At Connect Northshore, we believe in the power of information and community support. Whether you're seeking knowledge, assistance, or ways to get involved, these resources can guide and aid you in your journey. Together, we can build a more informed, supportive, and resilient community.