VICIOUS NETTIE MAYERSOHN SEEKS TO STRIP PAROLEES OF HIV PRIVACY -- CALL AND STOP HER NOW!



ADVOCACY ALERT

Please voice your opposition to bill # A.2189-A (Mayersohn)/S.7541 (Maltese).

This bill would allow agents of the division of parole to disclose HIV related information to public health officers for the purpose of informing sexual and drug using partners. There is no public health rationale for this bill. The paroled HIV+ person has already been counseled and informed of the ability to inform contacts through the DOH partner notification program. The State and City partnership notification programs function well without notification by Department of Parole. Health providers administering HIV tests are already required to notify State and City partner notification programs run by the New York State and New York City Departments of Health when a person testing positive does or does not notify inmates testing positive for HIV antibodies.

This bill treats parolees differently than other persons who test positive for HIV. This bill further stigmatizes people released from prison.

Persons living with HIV/HCV should be assigned a case manager. They should receive a medical evaluation/medical care, medications, safe suitable short and long term housing, clothing and assured nutritious meals. The parole officer involvement with the sensitive area of partner notification will only lead to confusion, violations of privacy and potential for abuse.

Each year there are more than 23,000 people from New York State prisons returning to our communities. Legislation such as this will create unnecessary barriers and make their re-entry into society more difficult.

Take immediate action by contacting Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried's Office, Chair of Committee on Health, oppose bill #A.2189-A/S.7541. Send faxes to Richard Conte, 518-455-5931. Phone number is 518-455-4941.

For more info: contact Romeo Sanchez 212-453-2659 e-mail rsanchez@latinoaids.org .


 

A radical last minute attempt to strip HIV privacy rights from parolees is gaining ground in the state legislature. It's up to us to stop it now. The infamous Nettie Mayersohn, who brought you forced HIV testing of newborns and mandatory name recording of HIV has a new bill that would allow parole officers to disclose the HIV status of their parolees for contact tracing and partner notification purposes. Housing Works, GMHC, the New York AIDS Coalition and the Latino Commission on AIDS oppose the bill, but it made it out of the health committee yesterday with several democratic votes. Today the Codes Committee will take up Nettie's bill and that's where we must stop it. Call the members of the Codes Committee today at 518-455-4100 and tell them:

 

"Please vote against A. 2189 in the Codes Committee today. New York needs strong, smart prevention policies and laws, not last-minute half-baked radical ideas like Nettie Mayersohn's bill. It's a radical disruption of current laws that has had no careful consideration, and I'm particularly concerned about how it would affect black and Latino communities which are now the hardest hit by AIDS. Effective HIV prevention relies on privacy. This bill will hurt HIV prevention by scaring parolees out of full cooperation."

 

If you can make one call, contact:

 

Codes Committee Chair Joseph R. Lentol

 

If you can do more, phone as many members as you can (using the same number, 518-455-4100) in the order listed:

 

Jeff Klein

J. Gary Pretlow

Michele R. Titus

Mark Weprin

James F. Brennan

Vivian E. Cook

Steven Cymbrowitz

Clarence Norman Jr.

Daniel J. O'Donnell

Robin Schimminger

Helene E. Weinstein

Keith L.T. Wright 

Sandra Lee Wirth

Tom Alfano

David R. Townsend Jr.

Dede Scozzafava

 

(For more information about the members of the Codes Committee, you can go to its page on the Assembly website: http://assembly.state.ny.us/comm/?sec=mem&id=7.)

 

Housing Works supports strong HIV prevention policies; we've fought for new resources and new programs in the hardest hit areas, particularly communities of color. We serve thousands of formerly incarcerated New Yorkers and their families. We oppose Nettie Mayersohn and Serphin Maltese's last-minute attempt to radically restructure HIV prevention and privacy laws and policies.

 

The Assembly Corrections and Health Committees, led by AIDS champions Jeff Aubry and Dick Gottfried, have held several hearings on HIV care and prevention in prison and post-release populations. A number of important new ideas and initiatives are under discussion, including better pre-release planning and services to make sure HIV-positive prisoners connect to effective HIV prevention and care services when they're out.

 

Assembly Member Mayersohn didn't attend a single hearing.Then and instead, she offers a last-minute, half-baked measure that would put fear in the heart of every HIV-positive prisoner up for parole.

 

This measure is a drastic departure from current public health, partner notification, and parole law. As currently written, it would impose a coercive HIV testing and partner notification system on just one category of New Yorkers: parolees.

 

While all other HIV testing and partner notification laws and programs are based on voluntary cooperation and include strict limits on disclosure of HIV-related information, this bill would mandate the nonconsensual disclosure of adult HIV test results for the first time in our state's history.

 

Current partner notification and contact tracing programs rely on those who test positive to cooperate with public health officials and assist in the notification process by providing complete and accurate contact information. Without an assurance of privacy, contact tracing simply won't work.

 

Further, this measure may particularly harm HIV prevention efforts in communities of color, which are now the hardest-hit by HIV and AIDS.

 

Prisoners and parolees in New York are overwhelmingly African-American and Latino men. Surveys in recent years have shown that privacy concerns are particularly strong in New York's Black and Latino communities, and that failure to assure privacy can lead directly to rejection of or non-cooperation with HIV testing and notification protocols.

 

This proposal will hurt, not help, HIV prevention – we strongly urge its defeat.

 

Call the members of the Codes Committee today at 518-455-4100 and tell them:

 

"Please vote against A. 2189 in the Codes Committee today. New York needs strong, smart prevention policies and laws, not last-minute half-baked radical ideas like Nettie Mayersohn's bill. It's a radical disruption of current laws that has had no careful consideration, and I'm particularly concerned about how it would affect black and Latino communities which are now the hardest hit by AIDS. Effective HIV prevention relies on privacy. This bill will hurt HIV prevention by scaring parolees out of full cooperation."

 

(Codes Committee Chair Joseph R. Lentol; other members: Jeff Klein, J. Gary Pretlow, Michele R. Titus, Mark Weprin, James F. Brennan, Vivian E. Cook, Steven Cymbrowitz, Clarence Norman Jr., Daniel J. O'Donnell, Robin Schimminger, Helene E. Weinstein, Keith L.T. Wright, Sandra Lee Wirth, Tom Alfano, David R. Townsend Jr., Dede Scozzafava.)

 

 

 

 


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