H. B. 4483
(By Delegates Capito, Hubbard,
Hutchins, Compton and Caputo)
[Passed March 12, 1998; in effect from passage.]
AN ACT to amend and reenact sections one, two, four, six, nine,
eleven, fifteen and twenty-four, article four, chapter
sixteen of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine
hundred thirty-one, as amended, all relating to sexually
transmitted disease; changing the phrase "venereal disease"
to "sexually transmitted disease"; authorizing the secretary
of the department of health and human resources to designate
the diseases which are sexually transmitted; modifying the
time frame for mailing diagnostic reports; permitting the
sale of federally approved over-the-counter drugs for
treatment of sexually transmitted diseases; and making
various technical and drafting changes.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That sections one, two, four, six, nine, eleven, fifteen and
twenty-four, article four, chapter sixteen of the code of West
Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be
amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 4. SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES.
§16-4-1. Diseases designated as sexually transmitted;
prostitution as source thereof.
Sexually transmitted diseases, as designated by the
secretary of the department of health and human resources in
rules proposed for legislative approval in accordance with the
provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code,
are hereby declared to be infectious, contagious, communicable
and dangerous to the public health. Prostitution is declared to
be a prolific source of these diseases; and the repression of
prostitution is declared to be a health measure. If a conflict
exists between a provision of this article and a provision of
article three-c of this chapter, the provision of article three-c
§16-4-2. Investigations by local health officers.
(a) All municipal and county health officers shall:
(1) Use every available means to ascertain the existence
of, and to investigate all cases of sexually transmitted disease
coming within their respective jurisdictions and, when it is
necessary, have all cases treated, if they are not already under
(2) To ascertain the sources and transmission of the
(3) To institute measures for the protection of other
persons from infection by the infected person, or from persons
reasonably suspected of being so infected, and for the protection of the public health at all times.
(b) A municipal health officer may designate any member of
the city police or health department to make any investigation
required by the provisions of this section. A county health
officer may designate any discreet person to make any
investigation required by the provisions of this section. Any
person conducting an investigation has all authority necessary
for the purpose, the same as the health officer.
§16-4-4. Evidence of infection.
The following are prima facie grounds and reasons for
suspecting that a person is infected with a sexually transmitted
(a) Being a person who had been convicted in any court, or
before a police judge, or before a magistrate, upon any charge
growing out of sexual behavior;
(b) Being a person reported by a physician as infected with
a sexually transmitted disease, where the person is afterwards
reported as having failed to return for treatment; and
(c) Being a person designated in a sexually transmitted
disease report as having a sexual exposure to the infected person
§16-4-6. Reports by physicians.
(a) Every practicing physician or other person who makes a
diagnosis in or treats a case of sexually transmitted disease and
every superintendent or manager of a hospital, dispensary or
charitable or penal institution in which there is a case of sexually transmitted disease shall make two reports of the case,
(1) One report shall be made to the local municipal health
officer, if the party for whom the diagnosis was made or case
treated lives within any municipality having a health officer,
and if the municipality has no health officer, or if the party
lives outside of a municipality, then to the health officer of
the county in which the person lives;
(2) The second report shall be made to the director of
health of the state.
(b) The reports required by this section shall state: (1)
The street number and address of the person reported as diseased;
(2) the age, sex, color, race, marital state and occupation of
the person; (3) the date of the onset of the disease; (4) the
anatomical site of the infection and the date and type of
treatment; and (5) persons having a sexual exposure to the
infected person reported, if any are identified by the infected
person. The reports shall be mailed or delivered to the parties
to whom they are directed within the specifications and time
frame established by the director pursuant to rules proposed for
legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of article
three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.
(c) Municipal and county health officers shall file and
preserve the reports required by this section: Provided, That all
records, reports and other information provided under this
section shall be confidential and exempt from public disclosure under the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-b of this code:
Provided, however, That all reports shall be open to inspection
by the director of the division of health, and by local health
officers, or officers whose duties are connected with executing
the laws against these diseases: Provided further, That any
person who knowingly and willfully divulges or discloses any
information entitled to protection under this section is guilty
of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not
more than five thousand dollars, or imprisoned in the county jail
for not more than one year, or both fined and imprisoned: And
provided further, That the department shall propose regulations
relating hereto for approval by the Legislature in accordance
with article three, chapter twenty-nine-a and such regulations
shall include, but not be limited to, provisions for the
implementation of the confidentiality provisions pertaining to
(a) Every physician or other person who examines or treats
a person having a sexually transmitted disease shall instruct the
person in measures for preventing the spread of the disease, and
to inform him or her of the necessity of taking treatment until
(b) Any person who has been examined and found infected, or
is being treated for a sexually transmitted disease as provided
by this section, shall follow the directions given by the
treating physician or other person and take precautions as are necessary and are recommended. Any person starting to take
treatment shall continue the treatment until discharged by the
physician or other person treating him or her.
(c) Any infected person who fails to return for further
treatment within ten days after the last date set by the
physician or other person for the patient to return for further
treatment, without lawful excuse therefor, is guilty of a
misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in section twenty- six of this article.
(d) After the expiration of the ten days provided in
subsection (c) of this section, the physician or other person to
whom the patient should have returned for treatment shall, unless
he or she has knowledge of good reasons why the patient failed to
return, make a report of the facts in the case to the local
health officer having proper jurisdiction. The local health
officer shall at once make an investigation to ascertain why the
patient failed to return, and shall take any steps necessary in
the matter to protect the public health, including obtaining the
arrest, detention and quarantine of the patient.
§16-4-11. Precautions as to exposure to disease.
Whenever any attending physician or other person knows or
has good reasons to believe that any person having a sexually
transmitted disease is conducting himself or herself, or is about
to conduct himself or herself, in a manner as to expose other
persons to infection, the physician or other person shall at once
notify the local health officer having jurisdiction of the facts in the case, giving the name and address of the person. The
local health officer, upon receipt of the notice, shall at once
cause an investigation to be made to ascertain what should be
done in the premises, and may do whatever is necessary to protect
the public health.
§16-4-15. Form and execution of warrant.
(a) Any warrant or order issued pursuant to the provisions
of section fourteen of this article shall be directed to the
chief of police if within a municipality, or to the county
sheriff if not in a municipality or to any other officer
qualified to execute process, directing the officer to apprehend
the person mentioned, and to bring him or her before the health
officer at a time and place set out in the warrant or order,
there to be further dealt with as provided by law. The officer
to whom the warrant is directed shall execute the warrant in the
same manner as other papers of like character or kind. (b)
Pending a hearing in the matter the officer may for safekeeping,
lodge the person apprehended under warrant, in jail or in any
other place of detention that has been provided for such persons.
The health officer may at his or her discretion and by
indorsement on the warrant at the time of its issuance, direct
any other disposition to be made of the person arrested, before
trial. The officer executing the warrant shall be guided by the
warrant, but may not be held responsible if the person arrested
escapes. (c) The warrant is sufficient if it is in words and
figures as follows (the blanks to be filled as necessary in each case):
State of West Virginia, Office of ........................
County (or City) of ......... County (or City) of ..........
To................, Chief of Police or Sheriff of ..........
City, of County of .........:
It having been brought to the attention of the undersigned
health officer for (city or county) of ................, West
Virginia, that .............., reported as living or residing at
............... in (city or county), is infected, or is
reasonably suspected of being infected, with one or more sexually
transmitted diseases by reason of the fact that ...............
has been reported as (set out any reasons set in section fourteen
of this article, or other reasons)
and therefore reasonably suspected of being infected; and as the
diseases have been declared to be infectious, contagious,
communicable and dangerous to the public health.
This warrant commands you to apprehend
......................, if found within your bailiwick, and to
bring ................ before me at my office in the city or
county of .................. on the .............. day of
..............., 19 ...., at ........ o'clock, .... M, there to
be further dealt with as provided by law.
Given under my hand, this the .............. day of ..............., 19 .....
Health Officer or Commissioner.
City (or County) of ..............
§16-4-24. Offenses by druggists.
(a) No druggist, pharmacist or other person, not a licensed
physician under the laws of the state, may prescribe, recommend,
sell, compound or mix any drugs, medicines or other substances to
be used for the cure or alleviation of a sexually transmitted
disease, including drugs, medicines or substances that are
patented, proprietary or otherwise, unless:
(1) The druggist or pharmacist receives a written
prescription, formula or order written for the person for whom
the drugs or medicines are compounded and signed by a physician
licensed to practice under the laws of the state; or
(2) The drug being recommended or sold has received federal
food and drug administration approval for over-the-counter use.
(b) All drugs, medicines or substances that are known to the
medical profession as being commonly used for the cure or
alleviation of sexually transmitted diseases, whether the name is
on the bottles or labels or not, is subject to the prohibitions
established pursuant to the provisions of this section.
(c) All drugstores shall be at all times open to the
inspection of any local health officer, or to any party
designated by the director of the sexually transmitted diseases program of the state, to determine whether the provisions of this
section are being carried out by the druggists or stores. A sale
by a clerk is considered a sale by the owner or proprietor, and
both may be prosecuted under the provisions of this article for