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Minnesota


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


Data from the GNP+ Global Criminalisation Scan

Number of prosecutions3
Number of convictions2
Applicable laws

MINN. ST. § 609.2241

Knowing transfer of communicable disease

It is a crime for a person who knowingly harbors an “infectious agent” to transfer it to another person through:

1. Sexual penetration with another person without having first informed the other person that the person has a communicable disease;

2. Transfer of blood, sperm, organs, or tissue; or

3. Sharing of nonsterile syringes or needles for the purpose of injecting drugs.

This crime may be under Minnesota laws concerning: attempt; murder in the first and second degrees; and assault in the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth degrees.

It is an affirmative defense that:

1. The person who knowingly harbors an infectious agent for a communicable disease took practical means to prevent transmission as advised by a physician or other health professional; or

2. The person who knowingly harbors an infectious agent for a communicable disease is a health care provider who was following professionally accepted infection control procedures.

“Sexual penetration” may include sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, or anal intercourse when the acts described are committed without the use of a latex or other effective barrier, regardless of whether emission of semen (ejaculation) occurs. MINN. STAT. § 609.341(12).

Discussion

This non-HIV-specific law still means that HIV-positive persons must disclose their HIV status to sexual partners prior to vaginal or anal sex, whether or not ejaculation occurs. Condoms and/or disclosure prior to sex are defences.

The Positive Justice Project reports that so far there have been three HIV-related prosecutions, two since 2009. 

Of greater concern is the civil commitment case discussed above, which allows for an individual found to be “sexually dangerous,” a “sexual psychopathic,” or “mentally ill and dangerous” to be indefinitely confined by the state to protect the public safety.  The Positive Justice Project found two civil commitment cases in total.

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.

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