New Tennessee Law Requires That Those Convicted of Sex With a Prostitute Must Take HIV Test
A new Tennessee law to discourage prostitution will require that anyone convicted of patronizing a sex worker take an HIV test, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports. The law, which goes into effect on Monday, is expected to "dete[r]" men from visiting sex workers because of the "stigma" attached to having an HIV test, the Times Free Press reports. Previously, only sex workers convicted of prostitution were required to be tested for HIV. Hamilton County Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck said it seemed that the new law's purpose is to determine whether the person convicted of having sex with a prostitute could also be prosecuted for aggravated prostitution, defined as engaging in sex with someone when one is aware of his or her own positive HIV-status. Patronizing a prostitute is a Class B misdemeanor, while aggravated prostitution is a Class C felony. Shattuck said that the new law "brings about an interesting question concerning possible double jeopardy," because a person could be arrested for having sex with a prostitute and then potentially be charged with aggravated prostitution. According to Hamilton County health officials, 98 new HIV cases were reported in the county in 2001, and 51 new cases were reported in the first five months of 2002 (Cook, Chattanooga Times Free Press, 6/24).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.