Burning the Family Silver: A Plea To Reform Louisiana’s Antiquated HIV-Exposure Law

Comment by Hayley H. Fritchie

Louisiana’s HIV-exposure law is outdated and unjustified. Despite consistent scientific reports on transmission of the virus, HIV-positive Louisiana residents are being repeatedly arrested for conduct that poses negligible risks of HIV transmission.  While prosecutors admit that these arrestees could never be successfully charged under the law, the current statute detrimentally affects HIV transmission rates in Louisiana, which are at the top of the national scale.  Louisiana Revised Statutes section 14:43.5 must be amended to criminalize only malicious HIV exposure through scientifically confirmed modes of transmission.  This Comment proposes an amended statute that criminalizes the intentional exposure of HIV through substantial and unjustifiable risks of transmission, finally ridding the statute of scientific inaccuracies and allowing the law to adapt as HIV knowledge progresses.


90 Tul. L. Rev. 209 (2015)