Nebraska Senate Bill Would Make Knowingly Exposing Sexual Partner To HIV Felony Assault
HIV-positive people who knowingly engage in sexual activities without revealing their HIV status to their partners could be charged with felony assault under a bill (LB 872) introduced on Wednesday by Nebraska state Sen. Lowen Kruse, the Omaha World-Herald reports (Stoddard/Reed, Omaha World-Herald, 1/7). The bill would also make it a crime for an HIV-positive person to donate blood, sperm, organs or other tissue "except as deemed necessary for medical or scientific research." In addition, the measure would allow for the prosecution of HIV-positive people for knowingly sharing needles with another person without informing them of their HIV status. People who violate the conditions in the bill could be charged with a felony punishable by 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine, according to the Associated Press. Kruse said that he worked with the advocacy group Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund to ensure that the bill did not target men who have sex with men or women who have sex with women, adding, "We do not want to hammer anybody -- it's not related to a particular population." More than half of all states have laws relating to HIV exposure or transmission, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In addition, at least 20 states have specific laws against intentionally infecting a sexual partner with HIV, the Associated Press reports (O'Hanlon, Associated Press, 1/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.