Knowingly exposing someone to HIV is no longer a felony in California

State Sen. Scott Wiener

And by decriminalizing exposing others to HIV. The bill also applies to people who give blood and fail to tell blood banks they're HIV-positive. In the current law, however, Wiener argued that it may convince people not to be tested for HIV.

Knowingly transmitting HIV to another person can still be classified as a felony in cases where intent to do so can be proven.

"State law will no longer discourage Californians from getting tested for HIV", said Asm.

According to state senator Scott Wiener and Assemblyman Todd Gloria, the bill's authors, modern medicine allows people who suffer from HIV to live longer lives, and that it almost eliminates the possibility of transmitting the virus.

California's new law comes as recently developed drugs for preventing and treating HIV have significantly extended life expectancies and lowered transmission rates in the HIV-positive community.

It was authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Assemblyman Todd Gloria (D-San Diego). Weiner said in a statement that its passage represents 'a major step toward treating HIV as a public health issue, instead of treating people living with HIV as criminals'. When people are no longer penalized for knowing their status, it encourages them to come forward, get tested and get treatment.

"With the enactment of this law, our laws will now become more fair, less discriminatory, and will promote treatment and prevention rather than criminalization". "It's absolutely insane to me that we should go light on this".

The bill was rejected by many Republicans, who argued the measure could lead to an increase in HIV infections.

"I'm of the mind that if you purposefully inflict another with a disease that alters their lifestyle the rest of their life, puts them on a regimen of medications to maintain any kind of normalcy, it should be a felony", Anderson said during the floor debate.

It's also important that people who know they are HIV infected not knowingly infect others through sexual contact.

Anderson was not the only one who met the measure with resistance. Sen.

State Sen. Jeff Stone voted against the bill and strongly expressed his disapproval in September when the Senate voted on it. Stone, a pharmacist, said that Democrats' arguments about those taking their medication have lower risks of spreading the virus are not so accurate.

Beginning in the late 1980s and at the height of the HIV epidemic, lawmakers passed several laws criminalizing otherwise legal behaviors of people living with HIV and added HIV-related penalties to existing crimes.

In addition to the organizations sponsoring the bill, SB 239 was supported by CHCR members including the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the Los Angeles HIV Law and Policy Project, the Transgender Law Center, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), the Free Speech Coalition and the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP).

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