Senator Peters

SPRINGFIELD – Illinoisans living with human immunodeficiency virus will soon be free from fear of criminal prosecution after a measure sponsored by State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) cleared its final legislative hurdle Tuesday.

“Laws that criminalize HIV are outdated, dangerous, discriminatory, and out of line with current science,” Peters said. “This practice has no place in modern society. HIV is a medical condition and must be treated as such. Individuals living with it should not have to fear being punished simply because they are sick.”

Peters’ House Bill 1063 repeals the portion of the criminal code that gives prosecutors the ability to charge people living with HIV with a Class 2 Felony for having consensual sex, sharing needles, or donating organs or bodily tissues and fluids. HIV is currently the only communicable disease subject to such criminalization.

“No other condition is treated as unfairly as HIV, so it’s time we remove the stigma surrounding it and allow folks who are living with it to get the treatment they need,” Peters said.

The proposal was passed by the Senate on Tuesday. It has now been approved by both chambers of the General Assembly, so its next stop is the governor’s desk.