As the tide turns: The changing HIV/AIDS epidemic and the criminalization of HIV exposure

This Note considers the impact of the changing nature of the HIV/AIDS epidemic on the criminalization of HIV exposure in the United States. The Note describes contemporary HIV/AIDS criminal transmission statutes, examining the history of these statutes' implementation, the varying nature of the statutes themselves, and academic criticisms of their effectiveness. Today, because of the effect of HAART on both the transmission of HIV and on the strains of the disease itself, the world of HIV/AIDS is far more complicated than the framers of these statutes could have imagined. The Note continues to explore the changing HIV/AIDS epidemic with an eye to explaining both the policy issues it presents today and the issues which it may present in the future. The Note describes how treatments for HIV/AIDS are undermining the already-shaky rationale for the criminalization of HIV exposure, and ends arguing that the solution to this problem is not a revision of these statutes, but their repeal. Pre-existing criminal statutes are better prepared to deal with the challenges the changing epidemic will present.
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