LANSING, Mich. — Michigan’s HIV felony disclosure law changed two years ago. Rather than criminalizing sex for people who are HIV positive, it's now only illegal if they fail to disclose their HIV status and transmit the virus to their partner.
The change led Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon to review past HIV felony cases in the county.
“In 2019, the law changed and said only if someone actively has HIV and actually transmitted it without disclosing their status, that they can be charged with a crime,” Siemon said.
Siemon said it took the state 30 years to alter the law.
The original law, which went into effect in 1989, criminalized anyone with HIV for having penetrative sex, even if it was consensual and their status was disclosed.
“That law came out of the incredible fear of the 1980s,” Siemon said. “It was a deadly disease, but it was a far overreaching law.”
Recently, Siemon and her team have decided to review all three HIV court cases that Ingham County has handled.
Two of those cases had been dismissed.
In the most recent case, a 41-year-old man pleaded guilty earlier this year and was sentenced to six months in jail, after infecting his 29-year-old girlfriend.
“This was a very tragic situation for this person who know has to live with her own HIV diagnosis for the rest of her life,” Siemon said.
Click here to view Michigan’s current AIDS felony Law.