Intentional HIV Infection No Longer a Felony in California
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that reduces the crime of knowingly exposing a sexual partner to HIV without informing them from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Friday’s Senate Bill 239 also applies to those who donate blood without disclosing their HIV status to the blood bank.
It was authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Assemblyman Todd Gloria (D-San Diego).
“Today, California took a major step toward treating HIV as a public health issue, instead of treating people living with HIV as criminals,” Wiener said in a statement.
“HIV should be treated like all other serious infectious diseases, and that’s what SB 239 does,” he added.
Knowingly transmitting HIV to another person can still be classified as a felony in cases where intent to do so can be proven. Prior to passing the bill, under California law, HIV was the only communicable disease for which deliberate exposure was deemed a felony offense, which carries a penalty of between three and eight years in federal prison.