The Court of Appeals of Ohio for the Ninth Appellate District, Summit County, affirmed the conviction of a man living with HIV after he engaged in sexual activity without disclosing his HIV status, ruling that the jury could have reasonably concluded 1) the defendant engaged in sexual conduct in November 2014, 2) he did not inform his sexual partner of his HIV status before engaging in sexual conduct, and 3) a nurse provided testimony that defendant was told he tested positive for HIV in December 2012. The court rejected defendant’s argument that he received ineffective assistance of counsel for failure to raise equal protection and free speech challenges to the statute, based in part upon the finding in State v. Batista that the statute was constitutional. See CHLP’s analysis of the subsequent Ohio Supreme Court decision of that case here.
Ohio’s applicable HIV criminal law, felonious assault, is a second-degree felony with up to eight years’ imprisonment. The law does not require an intent to transmit HIV; mere knowledge of one’s HIV status and nondisclosure of that status before sexual activity is enough for a conviction.