With great concern, we are writing to you today on behalf of the undersigned individuals. We are Davina Conner and Bryan C. Jones, and we are reaching out to you as an advocate/activist/radio host and a woman diagnosed with HIV for 21 years, and as a formerly incarcerated man who also is an activist and has been thriving with HIV for 34 years. We are on the steering committee of Prevention Access Campaign (and it’s Undetectable = Untransmittable, or U=U campaign) and leaders of the movement to end HIV criminalization.
As people who are living with HIV, we are very troubled by the disconnect between your official position on ending the HIV epidemic in New York, and the Office of Mental Health’s and New York Attorney General’s treatment of Nushawn Williams as dangerous sex offender. His civil commitment is based on incidents of more than 20 years ago, when he himself became infected with HIV and had unprotected sex with young women. Other than the statutory rape charge he pleaded guilty to (one of his partners was 13 years old), Nushawn has never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any other sex offense. When he received appropriate health care for his HIV, after he was incarcerated, his HIV has been undetectable.
The demonization and civil commitment of Nushawn is especially shocking since New York is home of the first public health agency, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, to publicly endorse the concept that people living with HIV in treatment with no detectable HIV virus are unable to transmit HIV, i.e., Undetectable= Untransmittable, or U=U.
To read this letter in its entirety, click here. If you are a PLHIV, please consider signing on to this letter to New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo, regarding THE UNJUST CIVIL COMMITMENT OF NUSHAWN WILLIAMS.
To sign on, click here
To learn more about the Nushawn Williams Case, click here