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Health and Nutrition Last Updated: Jan 15, 2018 - 6:46:38 AM

California Reduces Penalties for Knowingly Infecting Someone With HIV
By Peter LaBarbera
Oct 11, 2017 - 8:05:45 PM

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October 10, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) - Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a bill - authored by two openly homosexual legislators - that reduces the crime of a person knowingly infecting another person with HIV from a felony to a misdemeanor.

The bill, SB 239, also removes the felony classification for intentionally donating AIDS-infected blood and makes it a misdemeanor.

Penalties are reduced from a maximum of eight years in a state prison for being convicted of knowingly infecting someone with HIV to "imprisonment in a county jail for not more than six months" under the new law.

The bill was co-sponsored by Sen. Scott Weiner, D-San Francisco, and Assemblyman Todd Gloria, both open homosexuals. Wiener is a far-left LGBT militant who harshly attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions' new pro-religious liberty guidance, saying in an Oct. 6 statement: "We will beat back this bigotry, and any other bigotry that comes spewing out of this White House."

Anderson: Bill undercuts ‘accountability'

Republican Senator Joel Anderson spoke against SB 239 when it was debated on the Senate floor and passed easily along party lines in late May.

"If you intentionally transmit HIV or any other communicable disease that's fundamentally life-altering to the victim, of course you should be charged - you should go to jail," Anderson said.

"How is this different than if I took a baseball bat, beat you with it ... and you had the healthcare costs going forth, you had brain injury. You're never the same. You'll never live your life to the same extent that you did prior to that confrontation."

He said the "critical word" in the legislation is the "intentional" transmission of HIV (or any communicable disease).

"When you intentionally harm others, when you intentionally put others at risk, you should have responsibility," he said.

On the other side, Naina Khanna, who served on President Obama's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, says changes to tough HIV-transmission laws are needed because they actually discourage people from getting tested for HIV as a way not to be prosecuted for intentionally transmitting it.

"(L)aws designed to target people with HIV have been shown to increase stigma, thus reducing testing and engagement in care. You cannot be prosecuted if you don't know your HIV status and recent studies have found that many people do not get tested out of fear of prosecution. The message these laws send? Take the test and risk arrest," Khanna wrote in a Huffington Post op-ed that Sen. Wiener reprinted on his website.

Khanna states, "Research now shows indisputably that if a person living with HIV takes medication suppressing their viral load, it is impossible for them to transmit the virus to their partners - even when a condom is not used. That's why the absolute best way to prevent new HIV infections is to ensure that everyone who is HIV positive knows their HIV status and has quality medical care."

But Republican Senator Jeff Stone, who opposed SB 239, noted that prescription drug compliance studies show "three out of four Americans do not take their prescription medications as prescribed."

"And so if you don't take your AIDS medications as prescribed, you can get active virus which can be unknowingly transmitted to a partner," Stone said at a March committee hearing on SB 239.

"This is not a gay issue," Stone said, noting that he was confronted by a by an openly homosexual man who told him he "is not a felon."

"And I don't believe he's a felon, but I do believe that if you have active HIV and you are communicable and you have risky behavior with another person that causes them to get the disease, I believe that that should remain a crime, and a significant crime," he said.

Stone cited other examples of people subjected to seven years of prison for causing others severe harm, such as DUI and bar brawl arrests.

But under SB 239, "if you knowingly have HIV  virus -- positive - and you don't tell a (sexual) partner ... and they get infected, and that becomes a misdemeanor, I think that's a miscarriage of justice," he said.

The conservative Alliance for Therapeutic Choice and Scientific Integrity, formerly NARTH, responded in an email alert against the newly-signed legislation that there has always been flexibility in the law regarding how people who transmitted HIV are prosecuted.

"Now, even in a case demonstrating the most egregious irresponsibility, jail time has been capped at six months," stated the Alliance email. "Sadly, the message now being sent to those who are infected with HIV is that you won't be held as accountable and don't need to be as concerned about disclosing to others the possibility that you may be exposing them to this deadly infection.

"If you forget or just plain don't want to let others know you are HIV positive, the worst that will happen is a relatively minor, lightly punished misdemeanor. This is not the message that we need to be sending if we care about the health and well-being of our citizens," the Alliance said.

The spread of HIV is heavily linked to male homosexual sex. More than 9 in 10 new HIV cases among young men and boys ages 13 to 24 in the U.S. occur among homosexuals and bisexuals, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as LifeSiteNews reported in May.

The HIV law is one of a host of pro-LGBT bills that have been enacted in California's Democrat-dominated legislature in recent years. The organization and other pro-family groups have attempted to stem the tide of pro-"gay" and pro-"transgender" bills, but have largely been stymied because of overwhelming Democratic legislative and political power in the state.

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