It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. State Bill 239 has been signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown, which no longer makes it a felony to knowingly expose someone to HIV. That is now a misdemeanor, the same category of crime reserved for DUIs, public intoxication, and disorderly conduct.
If you’re someone who is a huge fan of the made for TV movies they made kids watch in health class in the 90’s, or someone with AIDS who doesn’t especially like having that awkward conversation with the hundreds of people you met at 1OAK and subsequently had sex with, you’re probably on the edge of your seat right now.
There is some reasoning behind this seemingly counterintuitive effort. Groups like the ACLU have pointed out that any laws regarding HIV transmission disproportionately affect sex workers (young professionals who have made a conscious career choice.) When you make it a serious crime to not disclose your HIV status prior to exposing someone to your potentially fatal condition, they argue, you discourage testing because you can’t not disclose your HIV status if you are not sure whether or not you have HIV.
Clearly they interviewed a lot of crack whores who have watched too much House of Cards.
It is further argued that the previous law stigmatized people with HIV:
“Exposure to all other infectious or communicable diseases—several of them also incurable or potentially fatal if untreated—would result in at most a misdemeanor conviction. Given that HIV is now a manageable condition for people with access to care, it is time to stop putting it in a class all by itself. SB 239 would pull HIV out of its own separate statute and include it in the law that applies to every other serious communicable disease.”
Wait, it is not a felony to knowingly expose people to Ebola, smallpox, cholera, or the plague?!?! That’s completely insane. Say I go over to someone’s house, who knows they have Ebola, and I go “Do you mind if I use your bathroom” and they go “Sure, it’s right down the hall”, and four days later I die of Ebola, that’s not a felony!?!?
This is completely mental. I would argue that we need to up the sentences in these cases, not ratchet them down.
There is a common misconception present in this new law. It is still a felony to maliciously give someone HIV on purpose, just like it is still a felony to throw a jar of of ghonorrhea cultures into someone’s face on the bus.
It is just not a felony to not tell them that you have HIV prior to engaging in unprotected sex or needle sharing.
I would further reject the notion that HIV isn’t that big of a deal anymore because the treatments have vastly improved.
It should still be someone’s right to decide if they want to expose themselves to a virus which will make them dependent on the prescription drug industry for the rest of their life, and will have untold negative consequences for their health and quality of life.
You don’t think it’s a big deal? While I’m envious of your lazier fare attitude on the subject, I beg to disagree.
I would argue it’s a really, really big deal still, certainly worse than getting your car towed.
You might say to me, Matt, as a straight white male and as someone who is in no way at risk for contracting HIV, why do you care about this?
I will tell you. If you are the type of person who goes around having sex with people and not telling them that you have HIV, you are a dangerous sociopath who most definitely reeks untold havoc on society at large, and you clearly have no respect for human life outside of your own.
I don’t care if there’s a .01 percent chance of you transmitting HIV to someone, that’s for them to weigh, not the person with the high five.
Clearly your decision making was a bit off at some point in the past, so let’s not make you the sole arbiter of life and death matters in 2018.
The idea that someone could meet someone in a bar, take them home, not tell them that they have HIV, expose them to HIV, give them HIV, and on the extremely rare circumstance that they are prosecuted, be charged with a misdemeanor is fucking bananas.
I was charged with a misdemeanor once in my life, which I got dismissed. I was pulled over by a cop and asked to produce my vehicle registration, insurance, and my license.
Apparently there was a clerical error and I came up as having an invalid license. I don’t believe that, I think they were just trying to get me into the court system to steal my money, but that’s what they said, and I was able to resolve the misunderstanding.
This was also in California.
If you don’t tell someone you have HIV and then give it to someone, you should be sent to prison for a long period of time, say something equivalent to manslaughter
Furthermore, if you’re a prostitute who has HIV and you keep getting picked up for prostitution, you should be locked up too.
I’ve never visited a prostitute but I still have this firm policy of not believing anything a prostitute says, and I think I would recommend everyone, literally everyone in the world, abide by this same policy.
The whole thing is frankly pretty mind blowing.
The fact that the ACLU and the state’s legislature even had time to address this issue is a sure sign that our society is crumbling and will soon smolder out.
They looked around and said “White collar crime, that’s a problem, police brutality, lead in the water, oil in the ocean, political corruption, the opioid epidemic, the schools don’t have books, the end of net neutrality, rampant poverty, white supremacy, economic oppression, natural disaster relief, the infrastructure is crumbling, you know what really needs some attention…”
This will have zero affect on HIV transmission rates, and basically zero affect on anyone in the entire country, save once in a blue moon a random street walker’s sentence will be reduced from four to two years.
In the meantime you’re putting out the energy that we need to sympathize with people who knowingly expose other people to deadly diseases because they don’t want to kill the mood or lose out on twenty bucks for their next hit.