California Proposes a Repeal of the State’s HIV-Criminalization Laws
California legislators, led by gay state Sen. Scott Wiener, have proposed legislation that would repeal a majority of HIV criminalization laws in the state of California. The ’80s era laws sprang out of fear and homophobia occurring during the epidemic’s early years.
The Bay Area Reporter writes:
After winning election last fall, gay state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) agreed to be the lead author for the legislation.
“There are multiple penal code sections passed during the height of AIDS hysteria in California and throughout the country,” said Wiener. “And these laws single out HIV as opposed to all other infectious diseases and harshly punish HIV-positive people who have sexual contact with other people even if there is no transmission and even if there is little or no risk of transmission.”
— Scott Wiener (@Scott_Wiener) February 6, 2017
The laws affected would include those covering disclosure of a person’s HIV status during condomless sex, solicitation by HIV-positive sex workers and the ability of an HIV-positive person to donate blood to other HIV-positive people.
Critics argue that current HIV criminalization laws discourage people from being tested since they specifically target HIV-positive people who are aware of their status.
(Header image via Twitter)