S. Dakota Pushing to Make Intentional Spread of HIV a Sex Crime

PIERRE, S.D. – Those convicted in South Dakota of intentionally infecting another person with HIV will be required to register as sex offenders after their release from prison if Senate Bill 65 gets passed, according to the Associated Press.

The proposed stipulation passed the South Dakota Senate by a unanimous vote last Thursday, and now heads to the House of Representatives. Its intended purpose is to underscore the severity of such an act.

"There'll always be a certain small portion of our population who set out to intentionally harm others by committing sex crimes," said Sen. Sandy Jerstad, D-Sioux Falls.

Jerstad said that two people in the state have been convicted of intentionally spreading HIV, and the maximum prison term for the crime is 15 years. For the victims, though, the ramifications could be much greater, as Jerstad sees it.

"Those victims will have to take HIV tests for years," she said, "and they live with the consequences of this crime for the rest of their lives."