“HIV Criminalization and Sex Work in California”

The California Women’s Law Center announces the release of the HIV Criminalization and Sex Work in Californiawhich analyzed the application of many of our state’s criminal laws related to HIV. In collaboration with The Williams Institute and the California HIV/AIDS Policy Research Center, CWLC was pleased to be able to participate in the creation of this report analyzing arrests made in California from 2005-2013 for prostitution and other offenses related to sex work.

The analysis revealed that women, particularly women of color, are arrested at much higher rates when compared with their male counterparts. For instance, although black women made up only 3% of the California population, they accounted for 37% of the prostitution arrests. When gender was cross-referenced with HIV status, the results were even more divergent, showing that women who were HIV-positive were arrested at much higher rates than their male and HIV-negative counterparts.

The report is being made available to the public in conjunction with Governor Jerry Brown’s support of Senate Bill 239 which decriminalizes HIV, a practice that disproportionately punishes women and people of color.

To read the full report, click here. To read CWLC’s letter in support of SB 239, click here. You can access The Williams Institute’s press release on the study here.