Missouri House Gives Initial Approval to Stiffer Penalties for Failure to Disclose HIV-Positive Status to Sexual Partners
The Missouri House on Wednesday gave initial approval to a bill (HB 1756) that would stiffen penalties for people with HIV who fail to inform their sexual partners of their status, the Associated Press reports. The bill, which passed by voice vote and still needs final approval before going to the Senate, will raise the current penalty for failing to inform a sexual partner about one's HIV status from five years to between five and 15 years. A person could face life in prison if he or she fails to notify a partner and that person then contracts HIV. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Mike Reid (R), would also allow the court to test alleged sex offenders for HIV and inform their accusers of the results. Rep. Glenda Kelly (D) questioned whether that measure would intrude on victims' privacy rights because their identities might become public through the court record. The original bill also contained a provision that would have required anyone testing positive for HIV to give the state Department of Health the names of all sexual partners over the last five years. However, Rep. Robert Clayton (D) successfully attached an amendment to the bill that deleted the provision, calling it "too much government involved" for a non-criminal offense (Higgins, Associated Press, 4/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.