US: Arkansas man gets 12 years for HIV exposure; faces up to 30


Man Gets Prison Term For Exposing Woman To HIV

May 2, 2008
Source: The Morning News

FAYETTEVILLE – An HIV-positive man who didn’t tell his girlfriend he had the condition was sentenced to 12 years in prison Thursday.

After Thursday morning’s guilty plea and sentencing in Washington County Circuit Court, MH was headed to Little Rock to plead guilty to the same charge, but with a different victim, in Pulaski County, according to Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Bill Jones.

Neither of the women contracted HIV despite their long-term relationship with H, Jones said.

H, 33, of Washington, D.C., was also ordered to pay a $250 fee and provide a DNA sample, pay another $250 fee and register as a sex offender and have no contact with the woman.

H faced up to 30 years at the Arkansas Department of Correction on the charge of exposing another person to HIV.

Court documents said H has hemophilia and got HIV through a blood transfusion when he was 7 years old. He attended the University of Arkansas, where he met at least one of the women

Editorial comment

A 33 year-old Arkansas man who pleaded guilty to HIV exposure has been sentenced to 12 years in prison…and faces similar charges in another Arkansas county.

This is totally outrageous! I’m so appalled that anyone can be sent to prison for HIV exposure, but this prison term is the longest I have ever seen for HIV exposure where there was just one complainant in the United States, and, according to the report in the Northwest Arkansas Morning News, he may be sentenced for up to 30 years for the second complainaint.

Criminalising HIV exposure potentially criminalises all HIV-positive individuals. Forcing people to disclose their HIV status before sex that may potentially expose someone to HIV (and it is not clear what that means in the era of potent anti-HIV drugs that may mean most HIV-positive people are uninfectious) makes no sense from a scientific, logical, and – dare I say – even moral point of view. Laws forcing HIV-positive people to disclose before unprotected sex do not work, and do more harm than good.