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HIV/AIDS survivor and activist Sean Strub coming to IUPUI as World AIDS Day speaker

December 1, 2015

IUPUI professor Carrie E. Foote and students in her sociology class AIDS and Society, offered in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, will host longtime HIV survivor and activist Sean Strub as a guest speaker in recognition of this week's World AIDS Day.

"An Evening with Sean Strub" will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, in Room 450C of the IUPUI Campus Center, 420 University Blvd. Strub, founder of POZ magazine, will present "The Criminalization of HIV," a talk on how HIV-specific laws hurt public health and why reform is needed. Author of "Body Counts: A Memoir of Activism, Sex and Survival," Strub will hold a book-signing immediately following his talk.

The Office of National AIDS Policy, along with various agencies and organizations such as the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Health and Human Services, the HIV Medicine Association, and the Positive Justice Project, has called for all states to review their laws concerning HIV exposure, Foote said.

Thirty-three states, including Indiana, have HIV-specific statutes that apply to people living with HIV and that penalize any alleged, perceived or suspected HIV exposure, regardless of intent to, or risk of, harm to another individual, Foote said.

"Many people think that the use of criminal law in cases where no HIV transmission occurred, or was even possible, is warranted and appropriate," she said. "Mr. Strub will offer insights into how HIV-specific laws are not warranted and are actually quite harmful, stigmatizing and discriminatory toward people with HIV. He will elaborate on how these laws hurt public health and why it is therefore critical to reform these laws."

Strub has been HIV-positive for more than 33 years. In 1994, he founded POZ, the leading independent global source of information about HIV. He presently is the executive director of the SERO Project, a network of people with HIV fighting for freedom from stigma and injustice, and is treasurer of the U.S. Caucus of People Living with HIV. He is considered an expert on HIV prevention and treatment policy and the intersection of sex, public health and the law.

The event is the brainchild of Tamarah Kilroy, an IUPUI senior studying social work who is also the service-learning assistant for Foote's class. Questions about attending can be directed to Kilroy at tkilroy@imail.iu.edu.

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