HIV Criminalization: State Laws Criminalizing Conduct Based on HIV Status

Find Your State

Know the laws in your state that protect LGBT people and people living with HIV.

The information provided here is a summary of provisions of the referenced statutes. In most instances, the wording used here is wording found in the referenced statutes (one exception is that “HIV” is used for convenience in this chart although the statute may use a different term, such as “AIDS” or “causative agent of AIDS”). Those statutes (and statutes that they reference) should be consulted for more complete information and, in some cases, for definitions of terms.

The focus of this chart is on criminal laws that criminalize conduct by persons who are infected with HIV. The chart includes laws which specifically reference HIV and/or AIDS; in addition, statutes that criminalize conduct based on the status of having a “sexually transmitted infection (STI),” “sexually transmitted disease (STD),” or “venereal disease” have been added, except where the statute specifically does not apply to HIV (due to court decision, statute, or regulation). If criminal penalties can be imposed for violating a law, the law is included in the chart, but if only civil penalties can be imposed the law is not included.

“N/A” means that Lambda Legal did not find a state statute that criminalizes acts specifically due to alleged risk of transmitting HIV (or sexually transmitted infections more generally). However, every state has more generally applicable law(s) that could be used to prosecute someone who knowingly and intentionally exposes another to an excessive risk of harm. In addition to potential criminal liability, a person who transmits HIV to another person or puts another person at risk of HIV infection might face civil liability. This chart does not address any possible bases for civil liability and does not include HIV-specific laws that impose only civil penalties.

July 12, 2010