HIV disclosure laws vary from state to state, with Iowa having arguably the strictest. But let's face it: You're going to have sex again, no matter what lawmakers say. You're going to have to do an honest examination of your personal ethics as an HIV-positive individual.
People with HIV are not walking public health threats, despite how the law treats us. We are human beings and we are far more than the virus we carry. Laws based on ignorance, fear and shaming of people with HIV are the real danger to public health.
We really need to create an environment in which people with HIV feel safe to
disclose this information voluntarily to their sexual partners. The criminalization laws do
nothing to foster that environment -- and, in fact, contribute to greater reluctance to disclose.
HIV criminalization laws place the burden of responsibility for disclosure of HIV status and the negotiation of condom use solely on HIV-positive individuals. They absolve the HIV-negative or untested of responsibility for their own health or the health of others.
Rick says that he disclosed his HIV status, and the victim chose to engage in unprotected anal sex anyway. The victim later tested positive for HIV, blamed Rick and charged him with assault. After a one-week trial, a jury convicted him of a felony.
There are presently 34 states that have criminal laws that punish people for exposing another person to HIV, even in the absence of actual HIV transmission or a meaningful risk that transmission could occur.