USA - Georgia

Last updated on: 27 April 2012

Criminalisation of HIV transmission/exposure

Georgia
Whether Specific law enacted: 
-
Number of people prosecuted: 
Min. 20
Number of people convicted: 
Min. 10
Applicable law: 

Ga. Code Ann. § 16-5-60(c)

Any person who knows that he or she is HIV infected is guilty of a felony [punishable by imprisonment for not more than ten years] if he or she, without first disclosing his or her HIV status, (1) knowingly has sexual intercourse or performs or submits to any sexual act involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another person; (2)knowingly shares a hypodermic needle or syringe with another person; (3)offers or consents to perform an act of sexual intercourse for money; (4)solicits another to perform or submit to an act of sodomy for money; or (5)donates blood, blood products, other body fluids, or any body organ or body part.

Ga. Code Ann. § 16-5-60(d)

A person who knows he or she is HIV infected who commits an assault with the intent to transmit HIV, using his or her body fluids (blood, semen,or vaginal secretions), saliva, urine, or feces upon a peace or correctional officer while the officer is engaged in the performance of his or herofficial duties or on account of the officer's performance of his or her official duties is guilty of a felony [punishable by imprisonment for between five & twenty years].

Key wording in the law: 

  Ga. Code Ann. § 16-5-60(c)

  1. Knowingly has sexual intercourse
  2. Knowingly shares a… needle
  3. Perform[s] an act of sex…for money
  4. Perform[s] an act of sodomy for money
  5. Donates blood...or any body organ

…without first disclosing his or her HIV status.

Ga. Code Ann. § 16-5-60(d)

Commits an assault with the intent to transmit HIV, using…body fluids…upon a peace or correctional officer.

Key Cases: 

In the three-year period July 2008 -August 2011, a total of nine cases were reported in the media, three of which involved biting whilst HIV-positive and one of which involved spitting whilst HIV-positive.

Discussion: 

Though disclosure is a defense to prosecution, there are difficulties in proving whether or not disclosure actually occurred in these situations and such evidence normally depends on the words of one person against another. In a 2008 case (Ginn v. State), an HIV-positive woman was sentenced to eight years imprisonment and two years probation for reckless conduct when she allegedly engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse without disclosing her HIV status. She was convicted, despite the fact that two witnesses testified that the woman’s sexual partner was aware of her HIV-positive status, and the defendant testified that her sexual partner knew her HIV-positive status because it had been published on the front page of a local newspaper.

In a January 2009 case, a 38-year-old man from Georgia was sentenced to two years in jail and eight years probation after pleading guilty to reckless conduct for having sex with a woman without telling her he was HIV-positive. The HIV-positive man and his partner, who tested negative for HIV, met at a housing center for people living with HIV. The fact that he was living at a home solely for people living with HIV was not enough to be considered disclosure for the purposes of the reckless conduct statute.

Excerpted from: Positive Justice Project. Ending & Defending Against HIV Criminalization, A  Manual For Advocates: Vol 1 States and Federal Laws and Prosecutions. Center for HIV Law and Policy, New York. Fall 2010 (with additional laws and cases through December 2011).

Survey respondents/Organisations working on HIV and the Law: 

Information obtained from: Positive Justice Project. Ending & Defending Against HIV Criminalization, A  Manual For Advocates: Vol 1 States and Federal Laws and Prosecutions. Center for HIV Law and Policy, New York. Fall 2010 (with additional laws and cases through December 2011)

Further reading: 

Positive Justice Project. Ending & Defending Against HIV Criminalization, A  Manual For Advocates: Vol 1 States and Federal Laws and Prosecutions. Center for HIV Law and Policy, New York. Fall 2010 (with additional laws and cases through December 2011).

Recent cases can be found at: Positive Justice Project. Prosecutions and Arrests for HIV Exposure in the United States, 2008–2012. Center for HIV Law and Policy, 2012.

Further cases and news can be found at: http://criminalhivtransmission.blogspot.com/search/label/Georgia (US)

Other laws and policies with an impact on responses to HIV

Laws and regulations relating to entry, stay or residence in the country: 

U.S. President Barack Obama has announced that all current restrictions affecting people with HIV from entering or migrating to the United States are lifted as of January 4, 2010. The final rule was published in the Federal Registry November 2, 2009. It stated: "As a result of this final rule, aliens will no longer be inadmissible into the United States based solely on the ground they are infected with HIV, and they will not be required to undergo HIV testing as part of the required medical examination for U.S. immigration."

New instructions are being provided to panel physicians and civil surgeons who administer medical exams as for immigration purposes, but it may take time until they are all aware of the change, so residency seekers should be prepared. The revised instructions can be found at: www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dq/technica.htm

From January 4, 2010, people living with HIV can enter the U.S. like anybody else.

Guidance on the new rule is published here: http://travel.state.gov/visa/laws/telegrams/telegrams_4631.html and an HIV Travel and Immigration FAQ brochure is available for download in English and Spanish here: http://immigrationequality.org/template.php?pageid=176.

Important note for visitors under the visa waiver program (for countries where a visa is not required to travel to the USA) and are living with HIV, please note that HIV is no longer considered a communicable disease for entry purposes. When submitting the online ESTA form to clear your entry to the U.S., it is important that you do check „no“ for the question about communicable diseases. HIV is no longer considered as such by the U.S. authorities.

Customs regulations require people entering with prescription medication like antiretroviral drugs to carry a doctor’s certificate in English, stating that the drugs are required to treat a personal condition. This requirement applies to all prescription drugs.

Medication should always be carried in hand luggage, as checked luggage may be delayed or get lost. If you are carrying-on liquid medication exceeding 3 ounces / 100 ml, you must declare it at the checkpoint for inspection.

For updated information, please go to: www.hivrestrictions.org

Laws relating to same sex, sexual relations: 

Male to Male relationships: Legal

Punishments for male to male relationships: No law

Female to Female Relationships: Legal

Age of consent: Equal for heterosexuals and homosexuals

Marriage and Substitutes for Marriage: Marriage laws vary in this country depending on area

Is it possible to change your gender on official documents?: Only in some areas
 
Gay or lesbian able to serve in the armed forces: No

For updated information, please go to: http://ilga.org