- Note - 20 years late, Californians have
finally seen their politicians begin to express some real concern for the
rights of the uninfected. This pathetically logical move comes, tragically,
too late for tens of thousands of infected, dead, and dying human beings
whose lives might have been saved by earlier... decades earlier...similar
- SACRAMENTO, CA. (Reuters) - California Gov. Pete Wilson signed into law Wednesday
a bill making it a felony to knowingly expose an unaware person to the
virus which causes AIDS.
- "It's a tragedy that so many people
contract the HIV virus," said Wilson. "An equal tragedy is when
HIV-infected individuals intentionally infect their sexual partners with
the virus. This is a deadly act that the State has the right and responsibility
- The bill, by state Sen. Richard Rainey
of Walnut Creek, provides for imprisonment for up to eight years of persons
convicted of knowingly attempting to infect a sexual partner with HIV.
It also allows a person's HIV status to be disclosed if the person is the
subject of a criminal investigation for committing this crime.
- California's existing laws make it a
felony for anybody who knows he or she is infected with HIV to donate blood,
body organs, semen or tissue to any medical center or sperm bank. It also
states that any person who willfully exposes someone else to a communicable,
infectious or contagious disease is guilty of a misdemeanor.
- Two years ago assault charges against
a California man who continued to have unprotected sex with his girlfriend
after learning that he was HIV positive were dismissed, even though she
said she would not have consented to the contact if she had known of his
- And last month in New York a drifter
believed to have exposed 13 women to the AIDS virus was charged with intentionally
trying to transmit the virus by having sex with a 15-year-old New York
- Nushawn Williams, 21, was charged with
reckless endangerment, attempted assault, sexual misconduct and endangering
the welfare of a child.
- Officials at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation
said that roughly 20 states had some sort of laws on the books covering
the transmission of the HIV virus.
- But they added that in some cases such
laws can do more harm than good as they add to the stigma surrounding AIDS.
- Usually, as in the Williams case, existing
laws are enough to punish any criminal behavior, they said.
- "We firmly think that there are
laws on the books which already allow for that type of punishment to occur,"
said Frank Dillon, the society's head of public policy.
- "This bill is not going to be the
thing that prevents HIV transmission throughout the state.... We don't
want anybody really to think that this solves the problem of HIV infection.'