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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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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
Vermont New Hampshire Washington D.C. Maryland Delaware New Jersey Connecticut Rhode Island Massachusetts Alaska Hawaii California Oregon Washington Nevada Utah Arizona Idaho Montana Wyoming Colorado 33 Texas North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma Minnesota Iowa Louisiana Arkansas Missouri Mississippi Florida Georgia Tennessee South Carolina North Carolina Wisconsin Illinois Michigan Indiana Kentucky Ohio West Virginia Maine New York Pennsylvania Virginia Vermont New Hampshire
  • 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 individuals with HIV have been prosecuted under state criminal law for a crime related to their HIV status (e.g. aggravated assault) (6 states)
  • No known prosecutions or HIV-specific statutes (6 states + D.C.)
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%

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

18%

18 % 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%

3 % of LGBT population live in a state that has no known prosecutions or HIV-specific statutes

Key
  • State does not have this law State has HIV criminalization law or policy
State HIV Criminalization Law No Law, But Prosecutions Occur
Alabama State does not have this law
Alaska State does not have this law
Arizona State does not have this law
Arkansas State does not have this law
California State does not have this law
Colorado State does not have this law
Connecticut State does not have this law
Delaware State does not have this law
District of Columbia
Florida State does not have this law
Georgia State does not have this law
Hawaii
Idaho State does not have this law
Illinois State does not have this law
Indiana State does not have this law
Iowa State does not have this law
Kansas State does not have this law
Kentucky State does not have this law
Louisiana State does not have this law
Maine
Maryland State does not have this law
Massachusetts State does not have this law
Michigan State does not have this law
Minnesota State does not have this law
Mississippi State does not have this law
Missouri State does not have this law
Montana State does not have this law
Nebraska State does not have this law
Nevada State does not have this law
New Hampshire State does not have this law
New Jersey State does not have this law
New Mexico
New York State does not have this law
North Carolina State does not have this law
North Dakota State does not have this law
Ohio State does not have this law
Oklahoma State does not have this law
Oregon State does not have this law
Pennsylvania State does not have this law
Rhode Island
South Carolina State does not have this law
South Dakota State does not have this law
Tennessee State does not have this law
Texas State does not have this law
Utah State does not have this law
Vermont
Virginia State does not have this law
Washington State does not have this law
West Virginia State does not have this law
Wisconsin State does not have this law
Wyoming
Data current as of 11/22/2016
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