US: Missouri proposal to add spitting whilst HIV-positive to criminal law likely defeated following strong pushback

On Tuesday, the Missouri House Committee on Civil and Criminal Proceedings held a hearing on HB 1181, a bill that would criminalize individuals knowingly infected with HIV who spit at another person. Contact with saliva has never been shown to result in HIV transmission.

HRC Senior Legislative Counsel Alison Gill testified in opposition to this harmful bill.

“According to the Presidential Commission on the HIV Epidemic, criminal sanctions for HIV transmission must be carefully drawn, directed only towards behavior which is scientifically established as a mode of transmission, and should be employed only when all other public health and civil actions fail to produce responsible behavior,” she testified. “H.B. 1181 fails to meet this standard because it criminalizes behavior with a low or negligible risk of HIV transmission, which may result in stigmatization and negative health outcomes among people with HIV and the LGBT community in Missouri.”

HRC urges the Missouri lawmakers to oppose this unnecessary and harmful bill.