Lawmakers in California have decided that knowingly exposing someone to HIV by having sex with them when you know you’re infected isn’t such a big deal anymore.
HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, used to be a guaranteed death sentence. But now, with an expensive and exhaustive regimen of regular medications, someone can lead a relatively normal life without suffering the deadly symptoms.
This is good news for sufferers of HIV – so good, in fact that Democratic lawmakers want to reduce the crime of intentionally infecting someone with HIV from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Because, you know, it’s not such a big deal anymore. Or something.
Sponsored by State Sen. Scott Weiner (keep the snickering to a minimum, folks), the San Francisco Democrat said the law discriminates against people with HIV because intentional exposure to other communicable diseases is only a misdemeanor.
The same consequences, from a felony to a misdemeanor, would also apply to someone who donates blood or semen without disclosing that they are positive for HIV or AIDS, potentially infecting untold numbers of people and unborn children.
Weiner said that “right now, HIV is singled out for uniquely harsh treatment as a felony,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
The bill is now on the governor’s desk and is likely to be signed. Still, many Republicans voted against the bill, saying it puts the public at great risk.
“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 regiment of medications to maintain any kind of normalcy, it should be a felony,” Anderson said. “It’s absolutely crazy to me that we should go light on this.”
Rather than reducing the penalties for exposing the public to HIV, they should make the penalties tougher for exposing the public to all infectious diseases.
Sen. Jeff Stone, a Republican pharmacist from Murrieta, also said it should remain a felony if someone exposes a partner to HIV, which he said would “condemn one to probably $1 million in drug therapy for the rest of their lives.”
Wiener noted that modern drug treatment can make someone with HIV noninfectous to others, but he said the law had not kept up with science.
He said some people may choose not to be tested if it makes them liable for a felony should they expose someone they have sex with to HIV.
“These laws do not prevent HIV infections,” Wiener said during the debate. “All they do is stigmatize people living with HIV and reduce access to testing and care.”
The bill is supported by groups including the American Civil Liberties Union of California, the Black Aids Institute and Equality California, which advocates for the LGBTQ community.
Getting HIV is not longer a death sentence, but it is certainly worthy of more than a misdemeanor – our judicial equivalent of a slap on the wrist – for purposely infecting someone.
Living with HIV is debilitating, costly, and emotionally destabilizing.
Leftists in California are going in exactly the wrong direction on this. They should make punishments harsher, not more lenient, for transmitting infections diseases intentionally.
What do you think? Do you know someone who is infected with HIV? Sound off in the comments below!