USA - South Carolina

Last updated on: 27 April 2012

Criminalisation of HIV transmission/exposure

South Carolina
Whether Specific law enacted: 
Yes
Number of people prosecuted: 
Min. 11
Number of people convicted: 
Min. 5
Applicable law: 

S.C. Code Ann. § 44-29-145

It is unlawful for a person who knows he or she is infected with HIV to:

(1) knowingly engage in sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal, or oral) with another person without first informing that person of his HIV infection;

(2) knowingly commit an act of prostitution with another person;

(3)knowingly sell or donate blood, blood products, semen, tissue, organs, or other body fluids;

(4) forcibly engage in sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal or oral) without the consent of the other person, including one's legal spouse; or

(5) knowingly share with another person a hypodermic needle/syringe without first informing that person that the needle or syringe has been used by someone infected with HIV.

S.C. Code Ann. §§ 44-29-60, 44-29-140

It is unlawful for anyone infected with an STD included in the annual SC Dep’t of Health and Environmental Control List of Reportable Diseases to knowingly expose another to infection. “HIV” was included in the DHEC list for 2009. See www.scdhec.gov

Discussion: 

At the time of our last update, October 2008, we were aware of five prosecutions and two convictions.  However, between July 2009 and and January 2011 there were media reports of six further cases, suggesting that our previous tally may have been underestimating cases. 

Survey respondents/Organisations working on HIV and the Law: 

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/Ohio

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

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