An HIV-positive man successfully challenged his conviction under subsection 2 of Minnesota Statute Sec. 609.2241 which prohibits the "transfer of bodily fluids" of those with HIV and other contagious diseases, on the grounds that that section of the law applies to medical procedures, not sex. Rick had been charged under both subdivision 2 and another section of the law, which prohibits sexual penetration without prior disclosure of one's disease status to a partner, but the jury did not believe the prosecution's evidence that disclosure had not occurred.
The majority opinion doesn't address the overall wisdom of Minnesota's communicable disease criminalization law. However, it does apply a refreshing dose of logic and reason to conclude it is ambiguous in what it prohibits and that therefore Rick's conviction can't stand.
The court concluded that sexual contact is covered only in section 1 of Minnesota's law, which hinges liability on sex following a failure to disclose one's HIV (or other disease) status to a partner. At trial, the jury had sided with Rick and rejected evidence that he had not disclosed to his partner, who eventually also tested HIV-positive. Consequently, Rick's criminal conviction was based on the part of the law. subsection 2, that prohibits "transfer of bodily fluids" regardless of disclosure.
However, the appeals court concluded that this section can be interpreted in more than one way, and that Rick's argument that it didn't apply to sex was reasonable since section 2's failure to mention vaginal fluids would mean, somewhat irrationally, that only men could be convicted under this section. The court rejected the state's public health policy argument for interpreting the statute to apply broadly to any unprotected sex in order to protect public health because neither the legislative history nor reasonable interpretations off other portions of the statute supported that conclusion.
It is gratifying to see judicial recognition of what has been obvious to many of us for quite some time: that if laws like this were meant to protect the public health, and if lawmakers were truly concerned about the spread of disease, the crime wouldn't hinge on whether the accused person with HIV lied or hid his HIV before sex. Regardless, based on this appeals court decision, under Minnesota's law, even when transmission may have occurred, an individual with HIV can't be imprisoned for unprotected sex in the absence of proof that disclosure did not occur.