I think by now everyone knows Californians are batshit insane, but this still surprised me:
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill Friday that lowers from a felony to a misdemeanor the crime of knowingly exposing a sexual partner to HIV without disclosing the infection.
“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.”
Supporters of the change said the current law requires an intent to transmit HIV to justify a felony, but others noted cases have been prosecuted where there was no physical contact, so there was an argument intent was lacking.
I think what makes HIV different is that it is one of a very few transmittable diseases which is absolutely incurable and results in the death of the recipient in every instance (yes, the anti-retroviral drugs prolong life almost indefinitely nowadays, but without these death is 100% certain; nobody has so far proved immune or recovered on their own).
HIV has been the only communicable disease for which exposure is a felony under California law. The current law, Wiener argued, may convince people not to be tested for HIV, because without a test they cannot be charged with a felony if they expose a partner to the infection.
This says something about the assumed morality of Californians: they would prefer to infect a partner with a deadly, incurable disease than risk being charged with a felony. And the idea that requiring carriers of this deadly, incurable disease to disclose their condition to partners is “treating them like criminals” is a rather interesting interpretation. Presumably the rights of Californians to not be infected with HIV by irresponsible, immoral partners are subordinate to the feelings of those carrying the disease.
The measure also applies to those who give blood without telling the blood bank that they are HIV-positive.
This is stupid, but probably not as serious as it sounds. I have been told that blood banks screen for HIV in batches, meaning people’s blood is combined and the whole lot tested. If it comes up positive they have to bin the whole batch, which would mean the clean blood mixed up in it is wasted. It’s unlikely HIV-infected blood will get through these days: while false positives are common in HIV testing, I understand false negatives are unheard of. Still, that this law is necessary shows there are people out there willing to give blood while knowingly infected with HIV who have a problem disclosing it.