Iowa state court overturns conviction of HIV criminalization case

Iowa state court overturns conviction of HIV criminalization case

Good news for HIV+ folks in Iowa.

In 2009, Nick Rhoades was sentenced to 25 years in prison and was to be required to register as a sex offender for life,  after having a one-time sexual encounter using a condom at a time when his viral load was undetectable,

The Iowa Supreme Court has reversed that ruling.

Via press release from Lambda Legal:

In reversing the conviction, the Court recognized that HIV-positive individuals who have a reduced viral load as a result of effective treatment pose little risk of transmitting HIV.

“We applaud the Court for applying the law in light of current medical understanding of how HIV is and is not transmitted,” said Christopher Clark, Counsel for Lambda Legal. “An individual who takes precautions to prevent transmission should not be considered a criminal for choosing to be sexually active, and we are very pleased that the Court agrees.”

Justice Wiggins wrote for the majority opinion: “Based on the state of medicine both now and at the time of the plea in 2009, we are unable to take judicial notice that an infected individual can transmit HIV, regardless of an infected individual’s viral load, when that individual engages in protected anal or unprotected oral sex with an uninfected person.”