In November 1987, Linwood Boyette, an African American man and retired US army sergeant, became one of the first people in West Germany to be jailed for alleged HIV transmission, following charges brought under a legal Maßnahmenkatalog (catalog of measures) in the state of Bavaria. Boyette stood accused of having knowingly exposed three white male sexual partners to HIV and bringing them into “danger of death.” Boyette’s racial and national “otherness” underscored the widespread West German perception of AIDS as a racialized threat linked to the United States. With his example, this article frames early West German criminalization of HIV/AIDS as a transatlantic spectacle of carceral discipline and racialized punishment. The article concludes that the US-inspired Bavarian response mirrors an ongoing carceral racialization of HIV that systemically harms individuals and communities of color in the United States today.

You do not currently have access to this content.