National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, The Center for HIV Law and Policy, and HIV Law Project submitted this amicus brief in support of Nick Rhoades in his appeal of the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief.
After a one-time consensual sexual encounter in 2008, Rhoades was arrested and prosecuted under Iowa Code Section 709C.1, the state's criminal transmission of HIV statute. Rhoades pleaded guilty to intentionally exposing another person to HIV, for which he received the maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and lifetime registration as a sex offender. The court later suspended his prison sentence after Rhoades had served a number of months in prison, and he was placed on probation for five years and on the sex offender registry with its mandatory reporting and monitoring requirements.
In the brief, amici argue that Rhoades' conduct – and the Iowa legislature's accommodation of the sexual intimacy of HIV-positive individuals that poses no more than a theoretical risk of transmission with no further obligation to disclose – is consistent with Iowa state and federal public health policies and practices that encourage risk reduction through condom use and other safer sex practices, and that encourage, without mandating, an individual's disclosure of HIV status to partners.