Colorado State Seal

While we have made an effort to ensure that this information is correct and current, the law is regularly changing, and we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. This information may not be applicable to your specific situation and is not, and should not be relied upon, as a substitute for legal advice.

HIV-Specific Criminal Laws

Colorado has no statute explicitly criminalizing HIV transmission or exposure. However, sentencing enhancements may apply to people living with HIV who commit an underlying sexual assault crime.

In 2016, Colorado reformed its HIV-specific laws. For a concise overview of the implications, see HIV Criminal Law Reform, Before and After: Colorado.

For detail on the selected state law and cases interpreting it, see Colorado: Analysis & Codes, an excerpt from CHLP’s recently updated compendium of HIV- and STI-related criminal laws and civil laws relating to public health control measures in all 50 states, the military, and U.S. territories. To view the publication in its entirety, see HIV Criminalization in the United States: A Sourcebook on State and Federal HIV Criminal Law and Practice. Methodology is explained in the Introduction (page 5).

HIV-specific Sentence Enhancement:

People living with HIV (PLHIV) convicted of sex offenses receive enhanced mandatory sentences.

General Felony Laws Used Against PLWH:

HIV exposure cases have been prosecuted under general criminal laws in Colorado.

We currently are in the process of reviewing and updating our resources and summaries related to health care workers and disclosure. In the meantime, please do not rely on this information as current, and get in touch with CHLP with any questions.

Health Department Policies:

Persons, including students and trainees, whose activities involve physical contact with patients or with blood or other body fluids from patients in the healthcare setting.

Calls for Voluntary Testing of Health Care Workers with HIV:

Voluntary testing.

Patient Notification of HIV Status for Health Care Workers:

Notification may be considered if there is evidence of (1) medical conditions which would have significantly impaired the HCW’s ability to perform procedures and/or increased risk of patient exposure, and/or (2) serious breaches universal precautions. Retroactive notification undertaken if (1) patients are known to have been exposed to infected HCW’s blood or (2) transmission of HIV from the HCW to one or more patients is documented.

Practice Restrictions Based on HIV Status/"Exposure-Prone Procedures":

If HCW performs exposure prone invasive procedures or has had cuts/skin lesions while performing invasive procedures, then the Dept will convene an ERP to provide advice. Dept of Health (DOH) will investigate to determine: (a) date of diagnosis (b) estimated date of infection (c) current medical status (d) current medications (e) whether exposure-prone procedures were performed (f) any instances where HCW had cuts or lesions which performing invasive procedures (g) infection control procedures (h) location and availability of records of HCW (i) willingness/consent to cooperate with DOH investigation (j) availability of blood specimens for DNA sequencing The ERP will make recommendations on whether HCW’s practice poses a risk to patients and if so, how to counsel HCW on: (a) whether to modify practice (b) whether to modify infection control, disinfection and sterilization procedures (c) how frequently to have medical evaluation (d) if need to inform patients (e) best way to monitor HCW’s practice for compliance (f) how frequently and under what circumstances panel should meet to discuss case.

These summaries highlight key aspects of state laws governing the rights of minors to consent to testing and/or treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV. Any such summary cannot capture the details and nuances of individuals state laws. Although roughly a third of the states permit health care providers to inform a minor's parents that their child is seeking STI-related services, none require it. Also, the law is fluid, and these summaries may not reflect recent legislative change in a particular state.  

Every state in the country allows minors to consent to STI testing and care without parental approval, although a number of these set an age threshold for the right to consent without parental involvement. In these states, the minimum age ranges from 12 to 14 years of age. 

As of the date of this posting, thirty-one states allow minors to also consent to HIV testing and treatment without parental approval. 

Physician May Inform Parent of Minor's HIV Status:

Physicians may, but are not required to, notify the parents of the HIV result.

Unlike testing for most other infectious diseases, testing for HIV involves possible benefits as well as social, economic, and legal consequences that typically are not apparent or known to an individual considering testing. HIV-related testing is the gateway to health-preserving treatment; it also can be the basis of criminal prosecution for those who are sexually active, or relied on to exclude individuals who test positive for HIV from programs, employment, or insurance. Although state and federal laws prohibit much of this discrimination against people with HIV, the ability to enforce those rights usually depends on access to free legal services, which are increasingly limited and not available at all in roughly half of the states in the United States. Thus, the potential negative consequences of HIV testing at a particular time or location might inform an individual's decision of whether or when to get tested for HIV; or whether to test anonymously or through a "confidential" testing process that reports their test results and identifying information to the state but maintains the confidentiality of those results.  

The American Medical Association has long defined informed consent as a process of communication between a patient and physician that results in the patient's authorization or agreement to undergo a specific medical intervention. Although informed consent is a legal concept rather than a medical one, many states use definitions of "informed consent" for purposes of HIV testing and medical procedures that in fact are inconsistent with the accepted legal definition, e.g., they do not require that an individual receive information or sometimes even notification that they are about to be tested for HIV. The Center for HIV Law and Policy (CHLP) accepts the legal and court-affirmed definition of informed consent; therefore, state protocols that call for "opt-out" testing (a patient is tested for HIV unless she/he objects) or that mirror general consent approaches are not counted as "informed consent" laws even in those instances where the state legislature has characterized their state law as requiring "informed consent." In short, CHLP does not consider or count laws that allow a patient's silence or general consent as granting authority to do confidential HIV testing as informed consent laws.

Pre-Test Counseling:

Counseling and testing sites must provide pre-test prevention and risk-reduction counseling.

Post-test counseling is required for HIV positive test results. 

Post-Test Counseling for All Who Test:

Counseling and testing sites must provide post-test prevention and risk-reduction counseling. Post-test counseling is required for HIV positive test results. Counseling must be offered in the case of healthcare worker exposure.

Anonymous Testing Available:

Testing must be made available anonymously. Anonymous testing is available at designated anonymous testing sites.

Partner Notification Required:

Find the laws in a different state.