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Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 377–381 | Cite as

AIDS Panic in the Twenty-First Century: The Tenuous Legal Status of HIV-Positive Persons in America

  • Richard G. CockerillEmail author
  • Lance Wahlert
Critical Perspectives

Abstract

Thirty-four states criminalize HIV in some way, whether by mandating disclosure of one’s HIV status to all sexual partners or by deeming the saliva of HIV-positive persons a “deadly weapon.” In this paper, we argue that HIV-specific criminal laws are rooted in historical prejudice against HIV-positive persons as a class. While purporting to promote public health goals, these laws instead legally sanction discrimination against a class of persons.

Keywords

AIDS HIV Criminal law Criminalization Bioethics 

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Copyright information

© Journal of Bioethical Inquiry Pty Ltd. 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mayo Medical SchoolMayo Clinic College of MedicineRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Perelman School of Medicine, Department of Medical Ethics and Health PolicyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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