HIV Criminalization by State

This map provides an overview of state laws that criminalize certain actions by people who are HIV-positive based on the presumed risk of HIV transmission. State HIV criminalization laws cover a broad range of behaviors, from biting and scratching to prostitution, and from organ donation and needle sharing to having consensual sex without disclosing one’s HIV status to one’s partner. Some of this criminalization was enacted in HIV-specific state criminal statutes; some has been created via judicial decisions. In some states, HIV status enters into criminal proceedings at the level of sentencing, permitting enhancement of criminal sentences for non-HIV-specific crimes. 

The data shared in this map, created by Stephen Latham, JD, PhD (Director, Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics) and Julian Polaris (Yale Law ’15), detail the specific conduct criminalized in each state, the means by which criminalization is achieved (by statute, case law, or both), and additional details about any penalties or defenses specified for each crime. Creation of this dataset was funded by a grant from the Public Health Law Research program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 

To explore these laws use the query box below. This page has been updated through October 2013.

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