SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation reducing the penalty for knowingly exposing some to HIV.
The legislation signed Oct. 6 is part of an attempt by Democratic lawmakers to reverse the tough policies enacted during the AIDS scare of the 1980s and 90s.
Under those policies, knowingly exposing someone to HIV was a felony. The new law reduces the crime to a misdemeanor, treating HIV like other communicable diseases.
Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco says the harsher penalties for HIV discourage people from getting tested for the disease and stigmatize those who have it.
Critics say the bill would endanger people.
Lawmakers last year approved legislation allowing people with HIV to receive transplants from HIV-positive donors, reversing a ban imposed amid widespread fear about the disease.