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HIV Criminalization Laws

HIV criminalization laws criminalize the transmission of, or perceived exposure to, HIV and other infectious diseases. The laws create a strong disincentive for being tested for HIV, and result in adverse public health outcomes. Some laws also criminalize behaviors, such as spitting, that have no risk of HIV transmission.

United States Map
State has HIV-specific law(s) (or criminal law concerning sexually transmitted infections that explicitly includes HIV) related to perceived or potential exposure and/or transmission of HIV (38 states)
State does not have HIV-specific law, but general criminal law has been used to prosecute people living with HIV (6 states)
No known prosecutions or HIV-specific statutes (6 states + D.C.)
NOTE: The extent to which states or individual prosecutors actively prosecute cases under these statutes varies greatly, as do the penalties if convicted. A number of criminal laws on sexually transmitted infections explicitly include HIV, whereas others, such as in New York, contain broad definitions that can encompass HIV. It is important to note that while several states have no known prosecution or HIV-specific statutes, there are also no legal frameworks in place to prevent prosecutions under general criminal codes in these states.

For more information, contact Lambda Legal.

If you or someone you know is currently being charged with an HIV-related offense, please contact the Legal Help Desk at Lambda Legal by calling (866) 542-8336 or through this form.

Percent of LGBT Population Covered by Laws

81% of LGBT population live in a state that has HIV-specific law(s) (or criminal law concerning sexually transmitted infections that explicitly includes HIV) related to perceived or potential exposure and/or transmission of HIV 16% of LGBT population live in a state that does not have an HIV-specific law, but general criminal law has been used to prosecute people living with HIV 3% of LGBT population live in a state that has no known prosecutions or HIV-specific statutes
State has HIV criminalization law or policy
State HIV Criminalization Law No Law, But Prosecutions Occur
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming


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Data current as of 07/12/2016