California Reduces Penalty for Knowingly Exposing Others to HIV

Lawmakers in California have recently passed legislation reducing the penalty for individuals who intentionally or knowingly expose another person to HIV without telling them. The controversial measure rolls back a law that was mostly used against sex workers.

The Bill Signed Into Law

Bill SB 239 was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown and the new law is set to go into effect in 2018. Under the previous law, intentionally exposing another to HIV or knowingly donating blood while HIV positive were felonies. The bill reduced the penalties for these acts, making them misdemeanors.

According to the bill’s supporters, the previous laws were outdated and weren’t effective at combating the spread of HIV. The majority of those convicted of intentionally exposing another person to HIV were sex workers. Laws related to blood donations were likely never enforced and California already has stringent screening measures to detect infected blood.

Convictions In The Transmission of HIV

Nearly 90 percent of convictions came as a result of sex workers being charged with solicitation, where it wasn’t known whether any physical contact that could transmit HIV has taken place. Supporters of bill SB 239 also noted that under current California laws, knowingly or intentionally transmitting other serious diseases, such as tuberculosis or Ebola is a misdemeanor.

But not everyone agrees with the California legislature’s actions. Many Republicans were against the measure. During a debate over the bill, Senator Joel Anderson said that anyone who purposefully exposes another person to a serious disease like HIV should be charged with a felony.

Get a Consultation from Our Palm Springs Personal Injury Lawyers

If you have questions about legal matters, obtaining professional legal advice is always a smart move. If you have suffered an injury of any type as a result of the actions of a third party, you can contact a Palm Springs personal injury lawyer for a consultation during which you can obtain answers to important questions.