An HIV-positive man in New Mexico has been charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon after he spat at a police officer, according to a brief report from local TV station, KRQE.
Officers responded to a call that [the man] was trying to kill himself, according to the criminal complaint. However he wasn't. When police tried to check on him, they said he was hostile, swearing and spitting at them. Comstock is HIV Positive, according to court documents.
(Video of the report is below - warning: there is a 15 second commercial before the short news item)
New Mexico does not have any HIV-specific laws, and there is no record of any previous arrests or convictions for criminal HIV exposure or transmission. However, a 2007 case (STATE V. NEATHERLIN, 2007-NMCA-035, 141 N.M. 328, 154 P.3d 703) previously established that a bite from someone with hepatitis C was sufficient to be charged and convicted under this this charge, and a 2000 case (STATE V. JONES, 2000-NMCA-047, 129 N.M. 165, 3 P.3d 142) previously established that spitting on a police officer was suficient to be charged and convicted of battery.
Last year, neighbouring Texas jailed a 42 year-old man for 35 years (under the third strike rule) and at least a dozen HIV-positive individuals in the US have previously been sent to prison for spitting, most of them on for spitting on a police or prison officer. (See this analysis following the Texas case; since then a woman from Georgia was sentenced to three years and in January 2009 a Pennyslvania woman was charged with a similar 'crime', although there are no reports of her conviction).