Published February, 2020

The Criminalization of HIV and Hepatitis B and C in Missouri, The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law (2020)


This report by The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, presents data from research on laws that criminalize HIV and hepatitis in Missouri. The data looks at the 593 arrests and 318 convictions for an HIV/hepatitis crime made in Missouri from 1990 through October 2019.  

Over this 29-year period, 593 people ranging from 17 to 76 years old were arrested for HIV-related felonies. The total number of offenses charged, 723, reflects that some of those arrested were charged with more than one HIV-related offense. Of the 593 people arrested, 54% were convicted of an HIV-related offense. For one out of four arrested, it was their first contact with the criminal legal system.

This is the latest in a series of reports on HIV criminal laws from the Williams Institute and it provides a thorough picture of how Missouri’s laws are being enforced. A key takeaway is that HIV-related offenses are prosecuted primarily against those who are already incarcerated. Consistent with previous Williams Institute findings on this topic, the authors found that Black people are the demographic most targeted by these laws in Missouri, representing 56% of the arrests and 60% of the convictions, while they account for 11.8% of the state’s population.

The Williams Institute also released an infographic fact sheet summarizing the key data. Both documents could prove very useful for Missouri advocates as they look to reform their state’s laws.