IOWA: State Supreme Court Reverses Conviction In HIV Criminalization Case
Via press release from Lambda Legal:
Today the Iowa Supreme Court set aside the conviction of Nick Rhoades, an HIV-positive Iowan who was initially sentenced to 25 years in prison, with required registration as a sex offender, after having a one-time sexual encounter with another man during which they used a condom. In reversing the conviction, the Court recognized that HIV-positive individuals who have a reduced viral load as a result of effective treatment pose little risk of transmitting HIV. “We applaud the Court for applying the law in light of current medical understanding of how HIV is and is not transmitted,” said Christopher Clark, Counsel for Lambda Legal. “An individual who takes precautions to prevent transmission should not be considered a criminal for choosing to be sexually active, and we are very pleased that the Court agrees.” Justice Wiggins wrote for the majority opinion: “Based on the state of medicine both now and at the time of the plea in 2009, we are unable to take judicial notice that an infected individual can transmit HIV, regardless of an infected individual’s viral load, when that individual engages in protected anal or unprotected oral sex with an uninfected person.”RELATED: Last month Iowa reformed its laws on infectious disease exposure and transmission. Deliberate intent to infect the other person must now be proven.