HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) attacks the body’s immune system by destroying cells that fight disease and infection. An estimated 1.1 million US adults and adolescents were living with HIV in 2005. Of those infected, an estimated 15% were unaware they were infected. HIV testing laws and laboratory reporting laws support HIV prevention and care. Many states also have laws that make it a crime to knowingly expose an individual to HIV.

State Testing Laws

Laws regarding routine testing help people in the United States know their HIV status. Testing at routine healthcare visits gives physicians a chance to detect infections or disease in people who may not appear at risk.

State Laboratory Reporting Laws

The amount of HIV in a person’s blood is called “viral load.” HIV attacks the CD4 white blood cell. Viral load and CD4 cell count test results can indicate whether an HIV treatment is working.

Criminal Laws

Many states have HIV-specific criminal laws. These laws impose criminal penalties on people who know they have HIV and consciously expose others to it without informing them first.

For more information about HIV, visit CDC’s HIV/AIDS website.