Our communication director, Katherine Koster, compiled state laws relating to  mandatory testing of sex workers and the criminalization of HIV+ sex workers in the United States. Koster and Robin Dunn, a long-time SWOP-Colorado member, also produced a more in-depth report on issues of mandatory testing and the Criminalization of HIV+ Sex Workers

State-By-State Table: Mandatory Testing and Criminalization of HIV+ Sex Workers

Full Report – Mandatory HIV Testing and the Criminalization of HIV+ Sex Workers in the United States


  • 25 states have mandatory testing of individuals arrested for, charged with, or convicted of prostitution.
  • 14 States specifically criminalize engaging in sex work if the individual knows he/she is HIV+
  • For other states, general criminal statutes against HIV transmission can be applied to sex workers for additional charges.
  • In Kentucky and Missouri, condoms are not an affirmative defense for HIV+ sex workers.
  • Not all states actively enforce these laws, but many do.
  • Between 2000-2010, in Nashville, Tennessee, 25 individuals were charged with “aggravated prostitution” and at least one individual engaging in sex work was charged with HIV exposure. Sex Workers disproportionately took the brunt of the criminalization of HIV and accounted for 63% of the 41 sexual exposure to HIV-related charges filed in the 10 year period.





Mandatory Testing

*State laws accessed August 15, 2013.