Highest NY Court To Determine Whether Unprotected Sex Without HIV Disclosure Is A Crime

January 6, 2015 | Prachi Gupta

While the city embraces more nuanced messaging for a new public health campaign around HIV, New York’s highest court is considering whether or not it is a crime for individuals with HIV to not disclose their status before engaging in unprotected sex.

NBC reports that New York’s Court of Appeals is reviewing the rulings of the case against Syracuse resident Terrence Williams, an HIV positive man who infected his parter after having unprotected sex. The Onondaga County DA originally proposed a felony charge against Williams in 2011, saying that Williams never disclosed his status and told his partner four times that it was safe to have sex. The New York State Supreme Court then “found that the defendant’s alleged conduct did not create a grave risk of death,” according to the Center for HIV Police and Law, and reduced the offense to a misdemeanor.

In an amicus curai brief recently signed by the Center for HIV Law and Policy — along with several AIDS and HIV awareness organizations like the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors, Gay Men’s Health Crisis and National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS — advocacy groups argued that “disclosure of one’s HIV status is not required under state or federal law, and that, contrary to popular belief, HIV is difficult to transmit and, when medically managed, has little if any impact on life expectancy.”

Meanwhile, NBC reports that the prosecution argues HIV “can lead to AIDS and kill victims.”

The Court of Appeals is expected to make a ruling next month.

(Photo: NYC.gov)