Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Criminal Justice

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, viii, 100 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Megan C Kurlychek

Committee Members

Alissa P Worden, James Acker, Kaveh Khoshnood


Criminal laws, Deterrence, HIV disclosure, HIV/AIDS, HIV infections, AIDS (Disease), HIV-positive persons, Criminals

Subject Categories

Criminology | Public Health


Before the advent of anti-retroviral therapy (ART), many states enacted and strictly enforced laws that criminalized HIV transmission. These laws were enacted to prevent HIV-infected individuals from knowingly transmitting the virus to the uninfected. Over the past two decades, however, questions have been raised regarding the effectiveness of HIV criminalization and its unintended consequences. For example, there is little evidence that the criminalization of HIV transmission has been effective in reducing the spread of the disease, particularly when compared to education and other prevention efforts. Moreover, stigmatization associated with criminalization may actually undermine public health efforts. The dissertation aims to assess these issues by asking whether HIV-specific criminal laws (HSCLs), at a state level, has served their purposes to promote HIV prevention by encouraging serostatus disclosure, reducing risk behaviors, and encouraging the testing for HIV.