AIDS drugs success forces states to rethink harsh HIV felony charges

In six U.S. states, individuals living with HIV who are found guilty of knowingly exposing a partner are required to be registered as a sex offender. They can face felony charges, or felony-level punishments, in 32 states.

yet as breakthrough HIV drug treatments as well as medical studies show there can be essentially no risk of sexually exposing someone to HIV while taking antiretroviral drug therapy (ART), states are being forced to play catch-up to the science, as well as stigma, of the AIDS virus.

There are 1.1 million people living with HIV in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control as well as Prevention. Between 2003 as well as 2013, ProPublica reported (inside the most recent data available) 2,352 records of HIV-related charges, with at least 541 convictions or guilty pleas.

“the item’s not easy to get people to agree with science,” said Bruce Richman, executive director at the Prevention Access Campaign, an organization that will seeks to provide the public with accurate information about HIV exposure. “the item conflicts with their long, deeply held beliefs about transmission risks.”

Last month Gov. Jerry Brown signed bill SB 239, generating California the fourth state to rewrite HIV exposure laws that will were enacted inside the 1990s during the AIDS epidemic. Before the legislative reform, a person living with HIV who violated the California law could spend eight years in prison, with additional time if the person was a sex worker. The punishment resembled a typical sentence for voluntary manslaughter — three, six or 11 years in prison.

The bill reduced charges by a felony to a misdemeanor, with maximum sentencing in a county jail today set at six months, as well as can be no longer HIV-specific yet includes additional communicable diseases, such as hepatitis. Anyone who intentionally attempts to transmit a disease without success will be charged having a misdemeanor having a maximum sentence of 0 days.

While the bill passed inside the California Assembly 44-13, not all legislators agreed with the decision.

“I’m of the mind that will if you purposefully inflict another having a disease that will alters their lifestyle the rest of their life, puts them on a regimen of medications to maintain any kind of normalcy, the item should be a felony. the item’s absolutely crazy to me that will we should go light on This specific,” Sen. Joel Anderson said as he debated the bill, according to a report inside the Los Angeles Times.

“This specific isn’t about generating people sick; the item’s about people living with HIV being able to live their lives as well as not be subject to felonies that will people with additional communicable diseases are not subject to,” said Jo Michael, legislative manager at LGBT advocacy group Equality California. In fact, Michael said This specific legislation will lead to more individuals seeking treatment. “HIV was singled out, as well as that will increases the stigma,” Michael said. “If you want to lower brand-new infection rates as well as have fewer people living with the item over time, addressing the disparity in discrimination can be a way to do the item.”

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