Yale University

Time to Decriminalize HIV Status.

TitleTime to Decriminalize HIV Status.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsLatham, Stephen R.
JournalThe Hastings Center report
Date Published2013 Sep
AbstractThirty-two U.S. states and two territories have statutes that criminalize sexual and other conduct of persons who are HIV-positive. Many of these laws were passed in response to the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act of 1990, which required states to outlaw intentional transmission of HIV as a condition of federal funding, but almost all of them reach far beyond intentional infection and affect conduct that has not resulted in infection and even conduct that could never result in infection. Hundreds of state courts have also used HIV-positive status as an element of traditional crimes such as assault with a deadly weapon, reckless endangerment, even attempted murder. A defendant's HIV-positive status has also been used as a factor justifying harsher sentences for crimes ranging from prostitution to rape to simple assault. What exactly is wrong with HIV criminalization? Why shouldn't we punish people who recklessly or deliberately expose others to HIV? Why not try to force HIV-positive individuals to disclose their status to potential sexual partners?
Alternate JournalHastings Cent Rep

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