Missouri Senate Votes 28-1 to Approve Stiffer Penalties for Failure to Disclose HIV-Positive Status
The Missouri Senate last week on a 28-1 vote approved a bill (HB 1756) that would increase the length of prison time faced by HIV-positive people who do not disclose their status to sexual partners, the Associated Press reports (Associated Press, 5/18). The bill would raise the current penalty for failing to disclose HIV status from five years to between five and 15 years in prison. An individual could face life in prison if he or she does not notify a partner and that person then contracts HIV (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/12). The legislation, approved on the last day of the 2002 legislative session, also would allow courts to test defendants accused of sexual offenses for HIV and inform alleged victims of the results. "This is a public safety issue. This helps those who may be victims of those who have" HIV, state Sen. David Klarich (R), the bill's sponsor, said. The bill, approved earlier by the state House, now heads to Gov. Bob Holden (D) (Associated Press, 5/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.