New Mexico

Number of reported cases At least 2 How do we calculate the number of cases


New Mexico does not have any laws which criminalise HIV ‘exposure’, non-disclosure or transmission.

We are aware of two cases in which there is a possibility that HIV status contributed to the arrest of a person for a general criminal offence. In the first, a woman living with HIV was charged with battery for allegedly licking a police officer. In the second, a man was charged with aggravated battery for allegedly spitting at a police officer. Details in both cases are vague so it is not clear whether the HIV status of those arrested were fundamental or incidental to those charges, however it appears likely that HIV would have been a factor in the decision to bring a charge of aggravated battery in the latter case as that offence requires intent to injure or infliction of injury, which would not be achieved by spitting alone.

In July 2023, it was reported that the Attorney General was in favour of a new law to criminalise negligent ‘exposure’ to HIV. This report followed an incident in which a beauty salon was shut down in 2018 after an inspection found that negligent practices led to HIV transmission in at least five clients. In this case the defendant was convicted of practicing medicine without a licence and was sentenced to three and a half years’ imprisonment, however there seemingly were no charges bought specific to the HIV transmission, prompting discussion as to whether a new law specifically criminalising this was needed.

For a detailed analysis of HIV criminalisation in New Mexico, as well as all other US states, see the Center for HIV Law and Policy report, HIV Criminalisation in the United States: a Sourcebook on State and Federal HIV Criminal Law and Practice.


New Mexico Statutes § 30-3-5

General criminal law (active)
Relevant text of the law

Aggravated battery

A. Aggravated battery consists of the unlawful touching or application of force to the person of another with intent to injure that person or another.

B. Whoever commits aggravated battery, inflicting an injury to the person which is not likely to cause death or great bodily harm, but does cause painful temporary disfigurement or temporary loss or impairment of the functions of any member or organ of the body, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

C. Whoever commits aggravated battery inflicting great bodily harm or does so with a deadly weapon or does so in any manner whereby great bodily harm or death can be inflicted is guilty of a third degree felony.


This information was last reviewed in July 2023