Lawmakers, health officials push Missouri HIV law rewrite

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Some Missouri legislators and public health professionals are calling for a rewrite of the state’s HIV laws, which they say are outdated and medically inaccurate.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Republican Rep. Holly Rehder and Democratic Rep. Tracy McCreery proposed bills in the last legislative session to reduce the state’s penalties for exposing someone to HIV. They plan to present the same bills in the 2019 session.

Missouri’s roughly 30-year-old law states that an HIV-positive individual could be convicted of a felony if he or she exposes a partner to the disease without the partner’s knowledge or consent. The law gives a minimum 10-year sentence for transmitting HIV and minimum five-year sentence for knowingly exposing someone to HIV.

Advocates say such laws result in questionable prosecutions and negative public health outcomes.