BALTIMORE, January 7, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine wholeheartedly supports U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) in his efforts to pass the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act, which will modernize laws based on scientific research, and outlaw unfair criminal discrimination against HIV infected individuals. Thirty-two states have laws based on perceived exposure to HIV, and 13 states have laws that criminalize certain acts, such as spitting. Such laws are abhorrent as HIV infection is no longer a death sentence, but rather a chronic condition with treatment.
"Since our lab first showed HIV as the cause of AIDS and developed the blood test in 1984, the public domain – and certainly our country's leaders – should be resolute in the fact that HIV is a retrovirus and not easily transmissible, unlike most other viral infections such as influenza," said Dr. Robert Gallo, director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and scientific director of the Global Virus Network (GVN). "It is shocking, that in the United States, in the year 2014, such unnecessary discriminatory laws exist."
Formed in 1996 as a partnership between the State of Maryland, the City of Baltimore, the University System of Maryland and the University of Maryland Medical System, IHV is an institute of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and is home to some of the most globally-recognized and world-renowned experts in all of virology. IHV is internationally renowned for its basic science research, which includes the launch of clinical trials this year on a promising preventive HIV vaccine candidate funded largely by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. IHV also treats more than 500,000 HIV positive individuals in 7 African and 2 Caribbean nations in addition to more than 5,000 HIV positive Baltimoreans.
SOURCE Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine