SUPCO Rules State's HIV Disclosure Law Is Constitutional

Oct 27, 2017

The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled a law requiring people living with HIV to disclose their status to potential sexual partners is constitutional.

Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler reports.

Orlando Batista was sentenced in Hamilton County to eight years in prison for not telling his girlfriend he’s HIV positive. His lawyer Josh Thompson told the Court in May said his behavior was reprehensible, but the law perpetuates a stigma that keeps people from being tested and getting treatment.


“But this case is bigger than him. This case is about all HIV positive people in Ohio.”


But Samuel Peterson with the Attorney General’s office said it was carefully written to help curb the spread of HIV and to ensure that only one other person would know the other’s HIV status.


“It ensures that informed consent exists between sexual partners.”


The court agreed with the state; that the law achieves an important goal – protecting victims – and is so narrowly tailored that it doesn’t violate anyone’s free speech rights.