Educational Resources

Knowing what HIV Criminalization is and how Ohio has applied laws to the subject of HIV is a critical first step in understanding the dire need for laws to be modernized and brought up to date with modern science.

  • HIV criminalization occurs when criminal law penalizes alleged, perceived, or potential HIV exposure, alleged nondisclosure of a known HIV-positive status prior to sexual contact (including behavior that does not pose a risk of transmission), or unintentional transmission.
  • Ohio’s six HIV criminalization laws do not require actual transmission to take place and they criminalize behavior that poses no risk of transmission.
  • Ohio’s HIV criminalization laws are outdated, overly-broad, and they are often disproportionately enforced in disadvantaged populations with prosecution and severe penalties
  • In Ohio, HIV is most often criminalized in the felonious assault statute, a conviction under which could result in an 8-year prison sentence

During the early years of the HIV epidemic, many states implemented HIV-specific criminal exposure laws—HIV criminalization laws—to discourage behavior that we know cannot lead to transmission (such as biting or spitting), and, as a requirement for receiving  federal funds to support HIV treatment efforts. Read Full Article

On March 15, 2014, the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice
and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) published Prevalence and Public
Health Implications of State Laws that Criminalize Potential HIV Exposure in the United States,
AIDS and Behavior (“Article”).1 Read Full Article

For the past three decades, legislative approaches to prevent HIV transmission have been used at the national, state, and local levels. One punitive legislative approach has been enactment of laws that criminalize behaviors associated with HIV exposure (HIV-specific
criminal laws). Read More

For those who object to Modernizing and use blood transfusion policies as reason, here are  summary key points from Modernizing Indiana’s HIV-related blood donation criminal laws Read More

Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. requires addressing structural barriers to HIV prevention and care. Current scientific and medical evidence should inform state laws and practices that criminalize behaviors by people with HIV. States should consider updating or repealing outdated laws and practices. Read More

First official report of what will be known as the AIDS epidemic is reported in the United States
The CDC identifies routes of HIV transmission and announces that HIV is NOT transmitted through casual contact, food, air, or environmental services
CDC identifies needle-sharing as the transmission method
Hands holding a ribbon
First National Treatment Guidelines for the use of antiretroviral therapy is issued by the CDC. December 1, The first World AIDS Day takes place
CDC releases a new HIV case definition to help state health departments expand their HIV surveillance efforts and more accurately track the changing course of the epidemic
Ohio passes its HIV felonious assault statute
CDC announces that over 2/3 of new HIV infections in the United States are from those who do not know they are infected. In response, the CDC launches an initiative to get people living with HIV diagnosed and into care and treatment
A NIH study shows treatment of HIV reduces transmission by 96% and establishes treatment as a means of prevention
CDC launches Let’s Stop HIV Together, a national campaign to combat stigma and complacency about the epidemic
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves Truvada for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). The drug can be taken by adults who do not have HIV, but are at risk for the disease.
President Obama issues an Executive Order directing Federal agencies to prioritize supporting the HIV care continuum as a means of implementing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.
CDC announces the annual HIV diagnosis rate declined by 30% from 2002-2011 but this is not true for certain populations of men having sex with men
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announces it will lift its 30-year-old ban on all blood donations by men who have sex with men and institute a policy that allows them to donate blood if they have not had sexual contact with another man in the previous 12 months.
The Ohio Supreme Court rules in Batista that the HIV criminalization statute is constitutional and does not violate the 1st Amendment or Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution
California governor Jerry Brown signs a bill decreasing the penalty for knowingly exposing a sexual partner to HIV or donating blood without disclosing the infection from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Surgeons at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, perform the first living donor HIV-to-HIV kidney transplant in the United States .

HIV Does not impact every population in Ohio equally. Find out what the current populations impacted by HIV in Ohio are by clinking the link below.

HIV Demographic Information

HIV Vulnerable Population


Knowing what the current laws are in Ohio is the first step in understanding why these need to be modernized. Below are a series of links to legal resources about the current laws in Ohio surrounding HIV, as well as resources for individuals living with HIV.

Ohio HIV Law Pocket Guide – bookmark this page or download the guide for quick reference. 

Why HIV Laws Need to be Modernized

What To Do If You Are At Risk for HIV Criminalization


End the Epidemic Efforts





We are not alone in fighting for modernization, check out what other organizations around the world are doing.

This is how 
other States have Modernized.
 OHIO can do the same!
states modernizing HV law

Special thanks to community advocate Bryan C. Jones of Ohio for recognizing the need for and requesting the creation of this resource.