California Decriminalizes Intentionally Infecting People With HIV - Even Through Blood Banks

ashley.rae | October 9, 2017
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On Friday, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill into a law that gets rid of felony punishments for knowingly and intentionally exposing people to HIV.

As MRCTV previously covered, the bill -- now a law -- lowers the charge of intentionally exposing people to HIV “with the specific intent to infect the other person with HIV" from a a felony punishable by up to eight years in prison to a mere misdemeanor.

The Los Angeles Times reports the law also applies to HIV-positive people who donate blood without disclosing that they are infected.

San Francisco’s Sen. Scott Wiener, who was the major force behind the bill, said, “Today California took a major step toward treating HIV as a public health issue, instead of treating people living with HIV as criminals.”

“HIV should be treated like all other serious infectious diseases, and that’s what SB 239 does,” he continued.

Sen. Joel Anderson, a Republican opponent of the bill, 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.”

“It’s absolutely crazy to me that we should go light on this,” he added.

Brown declined to comment to the LA Times about the law.

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