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Arkansas


For information on getting involved in HIV criminalization reform advocacy in Arkansas, please email info@seroproject.com.


Data from the GNP+ Global Criminalisation Scan

Number of prosecutions8
Number of convictions5
Applicable laws

Ark. Code Ann. § 5-14-123

It is a class A felony for a person who knows that he or she has tested positive for HIV to expose another to HIV (1) through the transfer of blood or blood products or (2) by engaging in sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anal intercourse, or any other intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person's body or of any object into the genital or anal openings of another person's body, without first having informed the other person of the presence of HIV. The emission of semen is not a required element of the crime. The minimum sentence for a Class A felony is six years, but sentences and fines of up to thirty years and $15,000 are possible. Sex offender registration may also be required by a sentencing court.

Ark. Code Ann. § 20-15-903

A person who is HIV positive must, prior to receiving any health care services of a physician or dentist, advise such physician or dentist that the person has HIV. Failure to do so is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison, a $2,500 fine, or both.

Discussion

People living with HIV in Arkansas should be aware that penalties for engaging in a broad range of sexual activities, without being able to prove that you first notified partners of one’s HIV status, can result in criminal penalties. If a person in Arkansas is aware that she/he is HIV-positive, she/he must disclose this to a sexual partner before engaging in penile-vaginal sex, anal sex, oral sex, or the insertion of any body part of an HIV-positive person, or any object, into the genital or anal openings of another person.

Though the statute’s title emphasises “transmitting AIDS/HIV,” neither the intent to transmit HIV, actual transmission of HIV, or the ejaculation of semen are required for prosecution. The only affirmative defense to prosecution is the disclosure of one’s HIV status. However, it is difficult to prove whether HIV status was disclosed in the course of private sexual activities because the evidence in these matters is often, if not always, limited to “he said, she said” testimony by the parties or third-party witnesses.

Arkansas also requires court-ordered involuntary HIV testing for complainant notification. All criminal defendants in Arkansas charged with sexual assault, incest, or prostitution may be required to submit to an HIV test and, upon conviction, and at the victim’s request, will be required to take an HIV test.

Sentences for violating Arkansas’s HIV exposure statute are severe. The minimum sentence for the Class A felony is six years, but sentences and fines of up to thirty years and $15,000 are possible. Sex offender registration may also be required by a sentencing court.

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)

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).

Latest cases and news can be found at: http://www.hivjustice.net/country/us/ar-arkansas/