HIV risks and disclosures are different for every situation. From long-term partners to a person whom you just met, deciding when to disclose private information is difficult. After all, does another person have the right to know his or her partner’s HIV status? Does an HIV-positive person have a right to privacy?
The Criminalization of HIV Transmission, Exposure and Not Disclosing
Nondisclosure situations increase the stakes. If you have sex with a non-infected partner and fail to disclose your HIV status, the state of Florida could charge you with a crime.
Under Florida Statute Section 381.0041(11)(b), an individual that knows they have HIV and donates blood, plasma or organs without disclosing their status could be charged with a felony in the third degree. Also, Florida Statute Section 384.24(2) states that it is unlawful for an HIV-positive individual to have sexual intercourse with another person unless they have informed them of their HIV infection and that person has consented. Failure to disclose could result in a third degree felony charge as well.
Lastly, under Florida Statute Section 796.08(5), a person who has tested positive for HIV and could transmit their infection through sexual activity and commits the crime of transmission via prostitution could be charged with a third degree felony.
It is not just the United States that imposes criminal consequences for those that knowingly spread HIV. Other countries, such as Kenya, have strict acts that will criminally punish those who spread the virus. In Uganda, a person that knowingly spreads HIV could be sentenced to death.
A Person’s Sexual Rights and Responsibilities
A person should have the right to disclose their HIV status. When it comes to employment, there is no law in Florida that states a positive individual must disclose their status to their employer or co-worker unless there is a clear risk for transmission. But, at the same time, those who are not positive have the right to know if the person they are dealing with is HIV positive – creating a legal issue for both parties.
While individuals have rights to privacy under the constitution, a person living with HIV could be subject to prosecution for non-disclosure especially in states that criminalize the transmission, exposure and non-disclosure acts related to HIV.
Isn’t It Discrimination?
Every state has their own assessment for how they see these laws impacting the HIV stigma and discrimination. Florida’s Department of Health is closely monitoring their exposure and transmission laws to see if they negatively impact either of those issues. The department also has guidelines for offering services to those who are infected in order to protect their privacy and health.
As it stands right now, there are privacy laws in place for those who are infected, but it is not discrimination to prosecute an individual that knowingly spreads the virus to those that have not consented to exposure or transmission.
Are You Being Charged with a Felony? Contact a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested for a felony, whether relating to a sex crime or other crime, contact the Law Office of Timothy Armstrong, P.A. today. We are available 24 hours per day to answer your call, so get started by calling 904-356-8618. Contact us online to receive answers to your questions from an attorney.