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Navigating Nevada’s Evolving Prostitution Laws: Implications for HIV and Public Health

The Changing Landscape of Prostitution Laws in Nevada: Understanding HIV Regulations

The state of Nevada has long been associated with a unique approach to prostitution, with some counties allowing legal brothels to operate under strict regulations. However, it is vital to stay informed about recent legislative changes, particularly those related to the transmission of communicable diseases like HIV.

In this article, we will delve into the repealed law, NRS 201.358, which once governed prostitution and HIV in Nevada, and explore the subsequent changes introduced by NRS 441A.180 that are currently in effect. By understanding these shifts, individuals can better comprehend the legal landscape and its implications for public health.

NRS 201.358 – The Repealed Nevada Law on Prostitution with HIV

Overview of NRS 201.358

NRS 201.358 was a repealed law in Nevada that specifically addressed prostitution and HIV. Under this law, engaging in prostitution while knowingly having HIV was a felony offense categorized as a category B crime.

The law was strict in its enforcement and aimed to protect both the individuals engaged in prostitution and public health.

Penalties under NRS 201.358

Violating NRS 201.358 came with severe consequences.

Those found guilty faced a felony charge, with potential imprisonment ranging from two to ten years, along with hefty fines of up to $10,000. The severity of these penalties demonstrated the state’s commitment to curbing HIV transmission within the context of prostitution.

Changes to Prostitution with HIV Laws – NRS 441A.180

Under the current legislation in effect, NRS 441A.180, engaging in prostitution while knowing that one has a communicable disease like HIV is now classified as a misdemeanor. Nevada lawmakers recognized the importance of addressing this issue and took steps to ensure a safer environment for both sex workers and clients.

Penalties under NRS 441A.180

The revised law carries more lenient penalties compared to the repealed NRS 201.358. Those found guilty now face a misdemeanor charge with a maximum imprisonment of up to six months and fines not exceeding $1,000.

The reduction in penalties reflects a shift towards a more compassionate approach while still prioritizing public health concerns.


In conclusion, understanding the changes brought about by the repealed NRS 201.358 and the introduction of NRS 441A.180 is crucial in comprehending the evolving landscape of prostitution laws in Nevada.

By adopting a more lenient approach, the state aims to balance public health concerns with the rights and dignity of individuals involved in the sex industry. It is essential for both sex workers and patrons to be aware of these changes and to take necessary precautions to maintain their own well-being and that of the wider community.

We hope that this article has provided a valuable insight into these legal developments and encourages responsible decision-making among all parties involved.

Defenses to NRS 201.358 Charges

Overview of Possible Defenses

When facing charges under the repealed law, NRS 201.358, individuals have the right to present defenses to challenge the allegations. While each case is unique, there are several possible defenses that one can consider.

It is crucial to consult with a legal professional to evaluate the specific circumstances and determine the most suitable defense strategy.

Specific Defenses

  1. HIV test results:

    One possible defense is disclosing HIV test results that show the defendant tested negative for the virus.

    A negative test result not only demonstrates that the individual is not a threat to public health but also negates their knowledge of HIV at the time of engaging in prostitution.

  2. Notice received:

    If the defendant received notice from the other party involved in the act of prostitution that they had HIV or another communicable disease, it can be a valid defense.

    Proving that the defendant was aware of the other person’s status prior to engaging in any sexual activity can help establish their lack of intent to endanger the other party.

  3. Act of prostitution:

    It may be argued that the defendant was not involved in prostitution at the time of the alleged offense.

    This defense relies on demonstrating that the act in question was not a direct exchange of sexual services for money or goods.

  4. Offer/agreement:

    Another possible defense is challenging the existence of an offer or agreement for prostitution.

    If it can be proven that no agreement was made, or if the intention was misunderstood or misconstrued, the charges may be disputed.

  5. Timing:

    Timing can also play a critical role in establishing a defense.

    If it can be demonstrated that the knowledge of one’s HIV status was acquired after the act of prostitution, it can support the argument that the infection did not occur during the transaction.

  6. Entrapment:

    Entrapment arises as a defense strategy when it can be shown that law enforcement coerced or induced the defendant into engaging in prostitution, creating a situation where the defendant would not have committed the offense had it not been for the actions of law enforcement.

    This defense requires evidence of law enforcement’s involvement and persuasion.

Related Offenses

Open and Gross Lewdness (NRS 201.210)

NRS 201.210 addresses the offense of open and gross lewdness. This law prohibits engaging in any obscene or indecent act in public or in the presence of others who might be offended.

Examples of open and gross lewdness include engaging in sexual acts or exposing one’s genitalia in a public place. Violations of this law can result in misdemeanor charges, imprisonment of up to six months, and/or fines of up to $1,000.


Trick-rolling refers to the act of stealing from someone who is engaged with a sex worker. The thief, or “trick-roller,” takes advantage of the individual’s distracted state and focuses on robbing them.

These offenses can range from theft and robbery to larceny. Depending on the circumstances and the value of the stolen goods, trick-rolling can lead to varying penalties, including imprisonment and fines.

It is important for individuals engaged in sex work or seeking their services to remain vigilant and attentive to their surroundings to prevent falling victim to trick-rolling.

Battery (NRS 200.481)

Battery involves the unlawful use of physical force against another person, resulting in bodily harm or offensive touching.

While not directly related to prostitution, it is worth mentioning that individuals engaged in the sex industry may face an increased risk of physical altercations, including instances of battery. Battery can be categorized as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the severity of the injuries inflicted and other aggravating circumstances.

Penalties for battery vary and may include imprisonment, fines, or both.

Sexual Assault (NRS 200.366)

Sexual assault encompasses non-consensual penetrative sex or any unwanted sexual contact.

Individuals involved in prostitution may be particularly vulnerable to sexual assault. Nevada law, under NRS 200.366, defines sexual assault and its various forms, including rape and forced sodomy.

Convictions for sexual assault can result in imprisonment, mandatory sex offender registration, and substantial fines, depending on the specific circumstances of the offense.

In summary, defendants charged under the repealed law, NRS 201.358, have various potential defenses at their disposal, such as providing HIV test results, establishing notice received, challenging the act of prostitution, questioning the existence of an offer or agreement, considering timing, or exploring the possibility of entrapment.

Additionally, it is essential to be aware of related offenses such as open and gross lewdness, trick-rolling, battery, and sexual assault, as these offenses can intersect with or impact those involved in the sex industry. By having a comprehensive understanding of these topics, individuals can navigate legal proceedings with greater awareness and make informed decisions in their best interest.

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