The bill also applies to people who give blood and fail to tell blood banks they're HIV-positive. The bill would ensure those facilities accommodate transgender people and their needs, including letting them decide which gender-specific bathroom they prefer to use.
Although some praised the bill, many others shared their concern over it, saying that such legislation would inevitably increase the risk of HIV infections. And, to borrow a line from the illegal immigration debate, is a person who commits a crime not, by definition, a criminal? The bill was signed by Gov. According to Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Assemblyman Todd Gloria (D-San Diego), authors of the bill who is the state Senator and also the author of the bill.
Individuals infected with HIV can almost eliminate the possibility of transmission if the patient is effectively treated.
The American Medical Association and the Infectious Diseases Society of America have come out against laws criminalizing HIV, and the CDC recently announced those living with HIV who are undetectable can not pass the virus on to others, even without protection.
The bill will take effect on January 1, 2018. The previous penalty for knowingly exposing sexual partners to HIV had people serving up to eight years in prison. It has now been lowered to a maximum jail time of six months.
But many have argued these laws ignore decades of medical science, fail to actually reduce infection rates, and disproportionately punish black men, as HIV rates are higher among people of color.
"The most effective way to reduce HIV infections is to destigmatize HIV", Wiener said to CNN. "When people are no longer penalized for knowing their status, it encourages them to come forward, get tested and get treatment".
Supporters of the reform push in California, which included a broad coalition of public health, LGBT, civil liberties and HIV groups in the state, described the laws as outdated and ineffective, pointing to statistics that showed that the vast majority of convictions were related to sex workers, who are required to undergo testing for HIV after being convicted of crimes such as solicitation.
Republican senator on the bill: 'It's absolutely insane'.
The change in the law means that it now treats HIV in the same way as it does other communicable diseases.
Wiener's office noted that the law "does not create any new criminal provisions", but rather creates "new rights within an existing structure". State Sen. Jeff Stone [R-Riverside County], a pharmacist, claimed that three out of four people on medication do not take it as prescribed.
"I'm of the mind that if you purposefully inflict another with a disease that alters their lifestyle the rest of their life, puts them on a regimen of medications to maintain any kind of normalcy, it should be a felony", Anderson said on the Senate floor.