HIV Criminalization in Florida: Evaluation of Transmission Risk

By Brad Sears and Shoshana K. Goldberg

Florida’s HIV criminal laws may undermine the state’s public health efforts by deterring people from seeking HIV testing and treatment, stigmatizing those with HIV, and disproportionately affecting the communities most impacted by HIV, including people of color, women, LGBTQ people, and the formerly incarcerated.

Using data from the Criminal Justice Information Services at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, researchers found that from 1986 to 2017, there were 266 convictions under Florida’s HIV criminal laws—approximately eight convictions per year. None of the convictions required intent to transmit HIV as an element of the crime, and none required proof of actual transmission of HIV.

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