Illinois Legislators Move to Amend Law Criminalizing HIV Non-Disclosure (2012)

Last month the Illinois General Assembly passed SB 3673, which amends Illinois' HIV criminalization law to make several significant changes. The amended AIDS Confidentiality Act, if signed by Governor Pat Quinn, will limit prosecution to a more narrowly defined "sexual activity" (rather than "intimate contact") limited to anal and vaginal intercourse; restricts prosecution to sexual activity without a condom; requires that prosecutors show that a defendant had the specific intent to "commit the offense" in order to sustain a prosecution; and allows prosecutors to subpoena a defendant's medical records which, following closed court review, can be used in court proceedings as proof that a defendant acted with knowledge of HIV status. While the focus on unprotected intercourse with intent is an improvement, the new provision allowing access to confidential health records expands the likelihood that such information will be misused and publicized, and the law continues to allow prosecution where no transmission or harm has occurred.

As before, HIV exposure remains a Class 2 felony, subject to 3 to 7 years in prison, as compared to reckless homicide, for which the maximum sentence in Illinois is 6 years. More discussion of the work by advocates in Illinois surrounding the legislation can be found here.

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