Delaware House Approves Bill That Would Mandate HIV Testing for Accused Sex Offenders
The Delaware House recently approved a bill (HB 424) that would require HIV testing for sexual assault defendants under certain circumstances, the AP/Bethany Beach Wave reports. According to bill sponsor Rep. Debbie Hudson (R), the measure would allow assault survivors to begin prophylactic treatment immediately (AP/Bethany Beach Wave, 6/19). The bill, which passed the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month, would amend an already existing state law and require an accused sex offender to submit to HIV testing within 48 hours of arrest if requested by the alleged assault survivor or a court order. If considered appropriate, the defendant also would have to submit to follow-up tests, even if initial tests were negative.
Unlike the existing law, some indication that HIV might have been transmitted, such as an exchange of bodily fluids, would not be necessary before a defendant undergoes testing. The bill also would mandate testing around the time of arrest, instead of around the time of arraignment, when a defendant is more likely to be represented by an attorney. In addition, a defendant would be required to pay the cost of testing unless deemed unable to do so (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 6/9).
If approved, the bill would allow the state to apply for federal grants under the Violence Against Women Act, the AP/Beach Wave reports (AP/Bethany Beach Wave, 6/19).