Legislation and HIV AIDS

Emory Report: June 8, 2009

How does our legislation affect an epidemic such as HIV AIDS? Do our voice and votes count towards the spread of this disease or is elimination? I found an interesting article in the Emory Report from 2009 that opened up these questions and further explained how gay marriage bans are linked to the rise in HIV.

Still a hot topic today as in 2009 is the legislative right for gay marriage. [1] Gay marriage has indeed made great strides and as of early November 2012 a total of nine states have approved same sex marriage. Federal law still does not recognize same sex marriage however; steps are being taken to recognize gay marriage. So how can we link marriage to HIV? This article in the Emory Report proposed [2] “A constitutional ban on gay marriage raises the [transmission] rate by four cases per 100,000 people.” So, if the data is clear in that same sex marriage leads to fewer cases of HIV then why won’t legislation make greater strides to grant marriage to gay couples? Understandably, this would mean radical changes to the constitution and it will open up doors for other groups that want change and further still; the deconstruction and reconstruction of our government and nation. How would this tweak in the constitution affect us in the long run?

These economists from Emory have found data that link an epidemic to law making and economics. In what other ways does HIV affect our lives? If we look at condom purchases since the epidemic broke in the United States in 1981, I am sure that we will find a significant increase in the total number of condoms bought. Not only do condoms bring in money to our economy but so do lubrication, and sex toys (for those of us who would rather play it safe). There is huge research being done for better condoms and sex toys for more protection and pleasure. HIV has the potential to improve our economy in these ways. Does federal legislation hold back on change for these reasons? Or as I mentioned before, is it more a matter of what is to come if the constitution is altered?

If legislation does decide to grant same sex marriage in all states and federally then, will the number of cases of HIV go down? Will we begin to see an end to this epidemic if couples become less promiscuous and commit to marriage? With regular doctor visits and safe sex practices is this all we need to accomplish to see an end to AIDS? For the individuals affected with HIV through drug use, what can we do to eliminate AIDS in this way? Significant research is being done here at Emory and around the world to find the cure that can once and for all end AIDS but until then, will measures such as same sex marriage and safe sex practices better protect the population from AIDS?

[2] “Intolerance is deadly. Bans on gay marriage codify intolerance, causing more                    gay people to shift to underground sexual behaviors that carry more risk.”



[1] “Nov. 8 2012: States.” Freedomtomarry.org. Freedomtomarry, 2003. Web. 19 Nov. 2012.

[2] Carol Clark. “Gay marriage bans lined to rise in HIV.” Emory Report 8 June, 2009. Print.

2 thoughts on “Legislation and HIV AIDS

  1. Tazam: interesting article that you found. I wonder if they have any updated data that compares states that allow same sex marriage to those that have not voted, to those that have put SuperDOMAs in place. It would be interesting to see if the numbers of HIV+ people increases with intolerance and decreases with tolerance.

    One thing I found curious in the article is how the authors suggest that in states that don’t allow gay marriage, gay people ( I am assuming they really mean men) go “underground” with their sexual behaviors that “carry more risk.” How does gay marriage change sexual behavior. I don’ t think if a gay guy “puts a ring on it” then he will suddenly put a condom on it too. Do you?

  2. I found some updated info. on states that have either accepted, denied and have remained silent. From The Huffington Post; 6 states have legalized gay marriage and 39 states have banned it which leaves 5 states silent. Hopefully, these states will speak up soon concerning these issues and reform is made to gay couples.

    As I may have mentioned, the legislation to grant same sex marriage will have a huge impact, on the community and HIV contraction. I feel that this will enlighten couples to settle down and create more families and structure. I don’t think that marriage will directly equal condom use nor the extinction of AIDS but that marriage will cause individuals to consider settling down and this decrease in the need to seek sex on the street may lead to a decrease in HIV contraction. The idea of marriage can have positive results in this respect and the open communication between couples will prevail in preventing and containing HIV.


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