USA - South Dakota

Last updated on: 27 April 2012

Criminalisation of HIV transmission/exposure

South Dakota
Whether Specific law enacted: 
Yes
Number of people prosecuted: 
69
Number of people convicted: 
Not known
Applicable law: 

S.D. Codified Laws §§ 22-18-31, 22-18-33, 22-18-34

It is unlawful for any person, knowing him/herself to be infected with HIV, to intentionally expose another person to infection by: (1) engaging in sexual intercourse or other intimate physical contact with another person; (2) transferring, donating or providing blood, tissue, semen, organs or other potentially infectious body fluids or parts for administration to another person in any manner that presents a significant risk of HIV infection; (3) transferring in any way to another person any nonsterile intravenous or intramuscular drug paraphernalia that has been contaminated by him/herself; or (4) causing blood or semen to come in contact with another person for the purpose of exposing that person to HIV infection. The actual transmission of HIV is not a required element of this offense. It is an affirmative defense, if proven by a preponderance of the evidence, that the person exposed to HIV knew the infected person was infected with HIV, knew the action could result in infection with HIV, and gave advance consent to the action with that knowledge.

Class 3 felony: maximum fifteen years imprisonment in the state penitentiary. In addition, a fine of $30,000 may be imposed, plus, since 2008, mandatory entry on sex offender registry.

Key Cases: 

In South Dakota’s first prosecution under its HIV-specific statute in 2002, an HIV-positive college student received 120 days in jail and 200 hours of community service after he had unprotected sex with several classmates without disclosing his HIV status. Under the terms of his guilty plea, the man was also ordered to abstain from unprotected sex unless he notified partners that he was HIV-positive. He later received four years in prison for failing to return to jail on schedule.

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).

Discussion: 

From the information received from SERO, since 2002 there have been 69 charges under South Dakota's HIV-specific statute (Source: Unified Judicial System - courtesy AG).  It is unclear how many of these were prosecuted or convicted, but given that there just 405 people living with HIV are estimated to be living in South Dakota (Source: SD Department of Health), this makes South Dakota one of the most punitive juridisdictions in the world for HIV-related criminal cases per capita of PLHIV (170 per 1000).

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)

SERO. Launched in 2012 in response to the growing phenomenon of HIV criminalization, SERO is a non-profit initiative to combat HIV and viral related discrimination, stigma, and criminalization. It seeks to empower people with viral conditions to improve the quality of their lives and advocates for sound public health policy based on science and epidemiology, rather than ignorance and fear.

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/South Dakota

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