California Passes New Legislation Lowering the Penalty for Knowingly Spreading HIV From a Felony to a Misdemeanor

Starting in 2018 knowingly spreading HIV in California will no longer be a felony. The penalty has been lowered from a felony with a maximum sentence of eight years in prison, to a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of six months. It has never been illegal to unknowingly transmit HIV to someone, the person who received the infection may take the person who infected them to court. As long as the person who spread the HIV can show that they were unaware of the disease, (for example by showing that in their most recent blood test they were HIV negative) the person who spread the disease would be absolved of the crime. California Senator Scott Wiener tweeted this on Friday:

 

Senator Wiener is right this is a huge win for people living with HIV, but how is this a win for public health? And why do California law makers want to lower the severity of knowingly spreading a life threatening disease with no cure? I cannot think of one way this helps the public, I see how it helps cold-hearted people who knowing spreading HIV, if you can think of any way this helps the general public let me know because I can’t think of any. Form your own opinions, share your thoughts, and get loud!

 

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