Follow-up to HIV Disclosure to Partners - a reference for Criminal Statutes on HIV Transmission
Jul 14, 2005
This is a follow-up to the question about disclosure. Nancy, you are correct that most states have criminalized non-disclosure. However, it is extremely important to point out that these laws VARY WIDELY by state.
For example, in Florida it is against the law to not disclose that you are HIV positive.
However, in California it only becomes a crime when the other person catches HIV and can show that their partner had criminal intent to infect them.
(Personally, I'm glad that the CA legislature had the foresight to set the bar high, as this prevents "revenge" charges made by irresponsible people against their partners as well as frivilous lawsuits; I also believes that it supports personal responsibility.)
The ACLU tracks these statutes at:
Chad in Los Angeles
Legalities of Non-Disclosure Dear Nancy, I'm replying to and posting your letter so that it will appear on the site and fill out the picture. Yes, most (probably all by now) states have criminalized non-disclosure of HIV to a sexual partner as either a misdemeanor or a felony. I am not aware of any state having criminalized non-disclosure by a relative. This case is complicated by the HIV-positive brother's mental illness.
On this site, we stress protecting yourself rather than relying on a partner's disclosure. Putting your own health so completely in someone else's hands is an abdication of responsibility.
A better answer would have been to suggest a family session with his brother's mental health counselor so that all three could talk about how to handle this disclosure issue. Nancy
Response from Ms. Breuer
Chad, Thanks for writing. Your information is helpful, so I'm replying and posting for others to have access. I agree that setting the bar high is necessary to limit frivolous, revenge-motivated lawsuits. We are all responsible for protecting ourselves, but we live in an unfortunate "culture of victimization."
And reliable information is the best protection! Thanks, Nancy
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