Under previous law in California, it was considered a felony to knowingly expose others to HIV, a sexually transmitted disease (STD), that is not curable.
On Friday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a new bill that lessens the crime of knowingly exposing others to HIV without telling them, from a felony to a misdemeanor.
As if that is not bad enough…..this new law also applies to blood banks. People will not be required to tell blood banks that they are HIV-positive and can therefor freely donate their infected blood.
Not only is this disgusting, but it could potentially cause the disease to spread even more as people will not be as worried about the consequences.
LA Times reports that the reason he signed the bill is because:
Modern medicine allows those with HIV to live longer lives and nearly eliminates the possibility of transmission, according to state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Assemblyman Todd Gloria (D-San Diego), authors of the bill.
Weiner said, “Today California took a major step toward treating HIV as a public health issue, instead of treating people living with HIV as criminals,” he added, “HIV should be treated like all other serious infectious diseases, and that’s what SB 239 does.”
Supporters of the change said the current law requires an intent to transmit HIV to justify a felony, but others noted cases have been prosecuted where there was no physical contact, so there was an argument intent was lacking.
Brown declined to comment on his action.
HIV has been the only communicable disease for which exposure is a felony under California law. The current law, Wiener argued, may convince people not to be tested for HIV, because without a test they cannot be charged with a felony if they expose a partner to the infection.
“We are going to end new HIV infections, and we will do so not by threatening people with state prison time, but rather by getting people to test and providing them access to care,” Wiener added.
Leave it to Republicans to be the voice of reason here. Senator Joel Anderson argued against the bill, stating that it would put the public at risk.
He said, “I’m of the mind that if you purposefully inflict another with a disease that alters their lifestyle the rest of their life, puts them on a regimen of medications to maintain any kind of normalcy, it should be a felony,” Anderson added, “It’s absolutely crazy to me that we should go light on this.”
What do you think?
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