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Louisiana


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


Data from the GNP+ Global Criminalisation Scan

Number of prosecutions55
Applicable laws

La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14:43.5

It is unlawful for any person to intentionally expose another to HIV through sexual contact or through any means or contact (including spitting, biting, stabbing with an HIV contaminated object, or throwing of blood or other bodily substances) without the knowing and lawful consent of the victim. (If the victim is a police officer, and the offender has reasonable grounds to believe the victim is a police officer acting in performance of his or her duty, fine can be not more than $6000 and imprisonment can be not more than 11 years, or both.)

La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 40:1062

It is unlawful for any person to inoculate or infect another person in any manner with a venereal disease or to do any act that will expose another to inoculation or infection with a venereal disease. (“Venereal disease” means syphilis, gonorrhea, chancroid, or any other infectious disease primarily transmitted from one person to another by means of a sexual act, La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 40:1061.)

Discussion

In June 2011, Louisiana's Governor signed into law a bill sponsored by Louisiana State Representative Charmaine Marchand Stiaes, that effectively moves sex work convictions back to the level of misdemeanor, and means that sex workers (with or without HIV) convicted of such 'crimes' no longer have to register as sex offenders.

According to information collected by SERO charges have been laid using Louisiana's HIV-specific criminal statute at least 55 times since it was enacted in 1993. Since charges have also been laid under general laws, this is likely to be an underestimation of the number of HIV-related criminal cases.

Given that there are an estimated 16,869 people living with (diagnosed) HIV in Louisiana (Source: Kaiser State Health Facts), prosecutions per capita of PLHIV are an estimated 3.26 per 1000.

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://www.hivjustice.net/country/us/la-louisiana/