New AIDS Legislature Could Bring Big Changes

October is AIDS Awareness Month but legislature that just passed in California might make it harder to be aware if your partner is HIV-positive.  

 

Before this bill, it was a felony in California to not disclose to your sexual partner if you are HIV-positive. This was to prevent the spread of the disease and promote safe sex. But legislators recently took away that felony charge and made it a misdemeanor. Why? Well, it’s an attempt to destigmatize the disease and shift attitudes about HIV. It also makes it no longer a felony to donate blood knowingly having an immunodeficiency like HIV. The lawmakers believe that if they take away the stigma around HIV and AIDS, people will be more willing to work towards eliminating the disease.  

This bill saw a lot of push back before it was passed, especially from Republican congressmen.  They believe there will be serious repercussions from changing the felony to a misdemeanor  and that it could endanger a lot of people.  

What could this new legislation mean for other states?  Currently in Pennsylvania, the intentional spreading of HIV, AIDS, and other STDs can leave you charged with reckless endangerment, aggravated assault, or even attempted murder.  Will this passing in California encourage states like Pennsylvania to change their legislature?

Even if you don’t agree with this bill, there are many way to destigmatize HIV and AIDS.  Just educating oneself more about the disease and its origins can change people’s perspective.  Treatments for HIV such as anti-retroviral medicines are extending people’s life expectancies significantly, and the number of people who die from AIDs each year keeps dropping.

So this October, try to spend a little more time learning about HIV and AIDS.  And if you agree with the legislature in California, encourage your congressmen to introduce similar legislation in your state.