Enforcement of HIV Criminal Laws in Virginia, The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law (2021)

White Papers and Reports

This report by The Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, presents data from research on those alleged to have committed HIV-related crimes in Virginia. The data looks at arrests, prosecutions and convictions from 2001 through 2021. This is the latest in a series of reports on HIV criminal laws from the Williams Institute and provides a picture of how Virginia’s laws are being enforced. 

Since 2001, 97 people have been arrested for HIV-related offenses. The total number of offenses charged, 147, reflects that some of those arrested were charged with more than one HIV-related offense. Arrests were split between misdemeanor nondisclosure (41%) and felony intent to transmit (59%), with none under the blood and tissue donation statute. Of those arrested, 18% had no previous contact with the criminal legal system. 

Consistent with previous Williams Institute findings on this topic in other states, the study found that Black men and women are overrepresented in HIV-related arrests in Virginia. While black people account for 68% of those arrested for HIV-related offenses, they represent only 20% of the state's overall population. 

In 2021, Virginia removed the misdemeanor nondisclosure offense and amended the felony intent-to-transmit offense to require actual transmission, however it expanded the scope to include other STIs.