December 11, 2013

Recommendations

To the City of New Orleans Health Department

  • Expand health services to people who inject drugs by increasing harm reduction and health education and promoting HIV testing and linkage to care, hepatitis C testing and care, and the availability of evidence-based drug dependence services.
  • Convene a citywide Working Group on the Health of Injection Drug Users with representation of people who use drugs and their advocates, medical providers and law enforcement to develop and coordinate strategies for improving health services to injection drug users.

To the New Orleans Police Department

  • Immediately cease using the possession of condoms as evidence to question, arrest, or detain persons suspected of sex work. Issue a directive to all officers emphasizing the importance of condoms for HIV prevention and sexual and reproductive health. Ensure that all officers are regularly trained on this protocol and accountable for all transgressions. Inform the community that such action has been taken and that the New Orleans Police Department will not interfere with the right of any resident to possess condoms.
  • Ensure compliance with federal court orders and New Orleans Police Department regulations for interaction with LGBT persons and enforce regulations prohibiting profiling transgender persons as sex workers, verbal abuse and sexual misconduct.

To the Orleans Parish Prison

  • Ensure compliance with federal court orders and international standards relating to increased safety in confinement for all prisoners; adopt and enforce procedures required under the Prison Rape Elimination Act for all prisoners, particularly LGBT individuals.
  • Take steps to reduce delay in access to HIV medications for incoming and newly diagnosed prisoners.

To the New Orleans City Council

  • Repeal “loitering for prostitution” laws, which invite discrimination and punishment based on identity or status rather than criminal behavior.

To the Louisiana State Legislature

  • Support expansion of Medicaid under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 to increase access to medical services for residents of Louisiana.
  • Address the lack of low-income housing in Louisiana, such as by increasing the Louisiana State Housing Trust Fund and allocating funds for low-income housing from the state’s portion of the Mortgage Settlement Fund.
  • Decriminalize voluntary, consensual adult sex work as criminalization impedes the right to health and contributes to other human rights abuses of sex workers and those perceived to be engaged in sex work.
  • Decriminalize the possession and distribution of sterile syringes as criminalization impedes the right to health. Repeal provisions of the laws criminalizing trace amounts of illegal substances in syringes and promote syringe access programs in the interest of public health and safety.
  • Repeal the Crimes Against Nature statutes in their entirety.

To the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals

  • Expand health services to people who inject drugs by providing state support for existing syringe access programs, increasing harm reduction and health education, and promoting HIV testing and linkage to care, hepatitis C testing and care, and the availability of evidence-based drug dependence services.
  • Convene a statewide Working Group on the Health of Injection Drug Users with representation of people who use drugs and their advocates, medical providers and law enforcement to develop and coordinate strategies for improving health services to injection drug users.
  • Support expansion of Medicaid under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 to increase access to medical services for residents of Louisiana.

To the Governor of Louisiana

  • Support expansion of Medicaid under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable care Act of 1010 to increase access to medical services for residents of Louisiana.

To the United States Government

  • The Office of National AIDS Policy and the federal agencies charged with implementing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy should:
  • Call upon states to prohibit the possession of condoms as evidence of prostitution and related offenses; develop a plan, led by the Department of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control, to provide guidance, technical assistance and model legislation to accomplish this objective;
  • Ensure that HIV research and surveillance data adequately reflects the impact of HIV on people who exchange sex for money, drugs, or life necessities; and
  • Increase efforts to ensure access to health care and harm reduction for people who inject drugs including, but not limited to, supporting the repeal of the federal ban on funding state and local syringe access programs and convening a national Working Group on the Health of Injection Drug Users with representation of people who use drugs and their advocates, medical providers, public health officials, and law enforcement to develop and coordinate strategies for improving health services to injection drug users.
  • The US Congress should repeal the ban on federal funding for state and local syringe access programs.
  • The US Congress should ensure that persons in Louisiana, and other states that do not expand Medicaid, have access to adequate healthcare services.
  • The Department of Justice should continue oversight of the New Orleans Police Department until it demonstrates compliance with civil and human rights obligations in relation to the LGBT community.

To the United Nations

To the United Nations Committees on Human Rights and Racial Discrimination and the Human Rights Council:

  • Call upon the United States to ensure that police and prosecutors cease using condoms as evidence of prostitution and related offenses.
  • Call upon the United States to repeal broad loitering statutes that invite discrimination and punishment based on identity or status rather than criminal behavior.
  • Call upon the United States to promote federal and state legislation supporting syringe access and other harm reduction programs as key elements of the rights to life and to health.