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Specifically, it eliminates several HIV-specific criminal laws that impose harsh and draconian penalties, including for activities that do not risk exposure or transmission of HIV.
"These laws are discriminatory, not based in science, and detrimental to our HIV prevention goals,” said Senator Wiener. During the 1980s -- the same period when some proposed quarantining people with HIV -- California passed these discriminatory criminal laws and singled out people with HIV for harsher punishment than people with other communicable diseases.
It's time to move beyond stigmatizing, shaming, and fearing people who are living with HIV.
Senate Bill 239 would amend California’s HIV criminalization laws, enacted in the 1980s and ‘90s at a time of fear and ignorance about HIV and its transmission, to make them consistent with laws involving other serious communicable diseases.
The bill is cosponsored by the ACLU of California, APLA Health, Black AIDS Institute, Equality California, Lambda Legal and Positive Women’s Network - USA.
(There’s more about the subcommittees on our website.) In many ways Jeff embodies one of the founding principals of CIRM: that patient advocates have a voice in everything we do, help shape the way we work, and the research we fund. He is a great colleague to have around – particularly for those of us who work in communications.
He always has good ideas and brings a fresh perspective to any conversation.
It's time to repeal these laws, use science-based approaches to reduce HIV transmission (instead of fear-based approaches), and stop discriminating against our HIV-positive neighbors." SB 239 updates California criminal law to approach transmission of HIV in the same way as transmission of other serious communicable diseases.
It also brings California statutes up to date with the current understanding of HIV prevention, treatment and transmission.
These laws were based on fear and on the limited medical understanding of the time.