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Washington


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


Data from the GNP+ Global Criminalisation Scan

Number of prosecutions9
Number of convictions6
Applicable laws

Wash. Rev. Code Ann. §9A.36.011 (1997)

A person is guilty of assault in the first degree if he or she, with intent to inflict great bodily harm, administers, exposes, or transmits to or causes to be taken by another, HIV.

A Class A felony carries a sentencing range of 93-318 months in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

Discussion

Recently there has been a prosecutorial trend in Washington where if someone is HIV-positive and engages in sexual activities that may be enough to arrest her/him for assault. The following cases had absolutely no evidence to suggest that the defendant intended to expose or transmit HIV to others but only engaged in sexual activities allegedly without disclosing her/his status:

  • In October 2010, a 19-year-old perinatally infected college student was charged with first degree assault for having sex with his long-term girlfriend.
  • Also in October 2010, a 23-year-old, HIV-positive man was sentenced to 87 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to first-degree assault charges for allegedly not disclosing his status to a man that he met on manhunt.com, a dating website.
  • In June 2009, a man with HIV pleaded guilty to first-degree assault after he failed to disclose his HIV status to a bisexual married man with whom he had an affair with after meeting online.

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).

At the time of our last update (November 2008) we were aware of six prosecutions and three convictions.  Since then, we are aware of a further three prosecutions, all of which resulted in convictions.

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/wa-washington/