Missouri Leads the Nation in HIV-related Convictions

August 4, 2022
Missouri Leads the Nation in HIV-related Convictions

Missouri Law

The state of Missouri holds the highest conviction rate in the United States for prosecuting HIV-positive citizens for exposing a partner to the disease without the partners knowledge or consent. The state of Missouri prohibits sexual intercourse and as it presents a “grave and unjustifiable risk” [1]. Missouri provides a minimum 10-year sentence for transmitting HIV and a minimum of 5-year system knowingly exposing someone to HIV. Although these cases are not as common as others, 82 people living with AIDS have been imprisoned in the last 22 years.

Missouri Legislators Proposing Changes

Several Missouri Legislators are proposing amendments to the laws surround HIV-related crimes. They argue that that the current law is too severe since the recent advancements of modern medicine have now lengthened the lives of infected persons. HIV is a human immunodefiency virus that causes AIDS [2]. AIDS is a disease that weakens and destroys the body’s immune system [3], which is acquired through contact with the blood, semen or vaginal fluid of an infected person. It is most commonly passed through sexual intercourse and/or sharing of intravenous needles. AIDS is the HIV virus plus one or more infectious “Opportunistic” diseases which the body is unable to ward off. The “Incubation period” between HIV infection and actual AIDS may range from period of months to several years. It is generally associated with lifestyles of “homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, and drug use” [4].

[1] State v. Mayhan, 971 S.W. 2nd 307 (1998)

[2] RSMO 191.650(5)

[23 State ex rel Callahan v. Kinder, 879 S.W. 2nd 677 (1994)

[4] Loeb, G. “Protecting the right to information privacy for HIV-positive prisoners”, 27(2). Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems, 269 (1994 Winter)



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