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California lawmakers are looking to roll back HIV transmission as a felony to a misdemeanor

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  • California lawmakers are looking to roll back HIV transmission as a felony to a misdemeanor

    If you didn't know, knowingly passing aids used to be a felony now it's being looked to to reduse it to a misdemeanor. All, I'm going to say is that I'm glad I don't live there. It's kind of appalling to let people pass such a dangerous and costly disease and get a slap on the wrist for it.

    https://www.statnews.com/2017/02/13/...e-1/#commentsv

  • #2
    Yeah, that is bullshit. HIV can ruin a person's life. I don't want a bastard who knowingly spreads HIV to only get a few months in jail. P.S. I don't live in California so this does not effect me but I think it is still bull.

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    • #3
      On the other hand, HIV is singled out with intentional transmission being a felony while equally bad diseases are not felonies, and the article goes into detail about what's motivating the change in the law.

      I personally get very suspect of any gut reaction that equates to, "reducing the penalties for crime, how horrible!" because being "soft" on crime in US politics is generally a bad thing, and politicians don't advocate for such things unless there's a good reason to risk the political backlash from the kinds of things already posted.

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      • #4
        Most other diseases that can be transmitted really suck but most don't kill you. My issue is that aids kills you has no vaccination and can't be put into remission. There are other diseases almost as bad but people who knowingly infect you with a disease which the only semi-treatment is a fairly expensive cocktail that just prolongs the inevitable, should be punished. They killed you in a much slower and painful way than a gun but killed you none the less.

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        • #5
          A couple of years ago, a piece of trash in Florida, who was infected with HIV, was knowingly sleeping with(and infecting) as many women as possible over the course of two years. I want to say 9 or so women were infected.

          Pretty horrific crime, and something I'd rather not see be decriminalized.


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          • #6
            What's the basis for determining whether someone knew they were infected?

            This bit:
            According to the Williams Institute study, less than 13 percent of HIV-positive Californians are women, but women account for 43 percent of criminal justice proceedings based on HIV-positive status.
            African-Americans and Latinos were also disproportionately affected. They were subject to 67 percent of criminal proceedings, while making up 51 percent of California’s HIV-positive population. White males, who are 40 percent of HIV-positive Californians, accounted for only 16 percent of those who came into contact with criminal justice system.
            ...sounds important in context. Superficially, I agree that committing murder-by-slow-illness should be a felony, but if that law was being disproportionately applied then I have to wonder whether it was being intentionally misused.


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            • #7
              We'd need to get better figures than percentages. Iwould rather see the hard numbers and the situations of the case. HIV related cases are more likely in the dozens and are more likely to be a situation of multiple people. This isn't a case of targeting everyone but ones who purposefully and maliciously target people for any number of reasons.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Epimetheus View Post
                Most other diseases that can be transmitted really suck but most don't kill you.
                That's doesn't justify HIV being singled out. If you want to advocate for the purposeful infection of others to be based on the severity of the disease, that's a logical position. But making HIV special in the eyes of the law doesn't make sense from a medical stand point.

                As well, I think it's worth considering that CA (like pretty much every state that I'm aware of) has laws for upgrading misdemeanors into felonies depending on the nature of the crime.

                My issue is that aids kills you has no vaccination and can't be put into remission.
                The rates of HIV escalated to full AIDS as dropped drastically since the original law was passed, and the rates of HIV caused deaths have also consistently gone down. There aren't great statistics on it, but a recent study in San Francisco came up with ~65% of HIV positive individuals will not die from HIV related causes.

                That's still ~35% that will, but HIV has stopped being the death sentence it used to be.

                Intentional transmission should still be a crime (and nobody is trying to say it shouldn't be in all this), but medical advances have been fairly consistently been in the direction of making surviving HIV more likely.


                And, again, there are all the reasons the article you posted gives for this change in the law.

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                • #9
                  If you shoot someone (or otherwise hurt someone) and they die many years afterwards, you can be arrested and found guilty of murder if it can be proven that they died specifically because of injuries from your gunshot (or whatever else you did to them).

                  In the same way, if you intentionally infect someone with AIDS and they end up dying from complications to the disease, at the least it should absolutely be possible for the infector to be arrested and charged with murder. So if there is a a change in the law, I would hope that this would still be an option.

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                  • #10
                    I don't think that it would, but I don't know CA's laws well enough to make any lay statement on it. That said from what I can find murder convictions for purposeful infection of a long term illness are exceedingly rare (likely due to the difficulty of establishing that a death is 100% the cause of a disease that can take so long to kill), but there are been multiple convictions of attempted murder in the US along these grounds.

                    So that's something to consider. Changing it from a felony to a misdemeanor shouldn't change the ability to bring assault/battery/attempted murder charges into the equation.

                    Also a nitpick: you can't infect someone with AIDS, you can infect them with HIV.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post

                      That's doesn't justify HIV being singled out. If you want to advocate for the purposeful infection of others to be based on the severity of the disease, that's a logical position. But making HIV special in the eyes of the law doesn't make sense from a medical stand point.

                      As well, I think it's worth considering that CA (like pretty much every state that I'm aware of) has laws for upgrading misdemeanors into felonies depending on the nature of the crime.


                      The rates of HIV escalated to full AIDS as dropped drastically since the original law was passed, and the rates of HIV caused deaths have also consistently gone down. There aren't great statistics on it, but a recent study in San Francisco came up with ~65% of HIV positive individuals will not die from HIV related causes.

                      That's still ~35% that will, but HIV has stopped being the death sentence it used to be.

                      Intentional transmission should still be a crime (and nobody is trying to say it shouldn't be in all this), but medical advances have been fairly consistently been in the direction of making surviving HIV more likely.


                      And, again, there are all the reasons the article you posted gives for this change in the law.
                      Again, you prolong it but the fucking medicine isn't cheap and aids actually has multiple strains some of which are more aggressive than others. I would like to see cases before looking at it as if it were a racist law. We got percentages not figures and if there was factual proven malicious in these cases than it does matter the spread of the defendants. Saying it targets lgbt members unfairly is bullshit. I know the lgbt scene in general, aids is an issue and a subset of them have no problem being hiv positive and giving it to people knowingly. And yes using contraceptives does help but some people try to worm their way out of using it.

                      I just need more than the reasons given because the law factually targets anyone who a) knows they have aids and b) gives it to other people. This disease is singled out for a reason. It's currently the most dangerous STI there is. Harpies is just as uncurable but has no long term damage. Syphilis can do massive damage but can be put into complete remission. Most HIV will probably stay as HIV if you have the money, can deal with the horrendous side effect of the drugs and the stigma. Some guy going around spreading it around getting a slap on the wrist for ruining other peoples lives is bullshit.

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                      • #12
                        Your argument is still fundamentally flawed in a number of ways:

                        1) HIV is not a special kind of evil. The law should not be based on people's feelings about HIV, but about medical facts (Also, Herpes B kills a greater percentage of patients despite medication than HIV does... so that whole STI thing doesn't work). Either the law needs to put all criminal infections in the same category, or have categories based on medical fact. Singling out specific diseases is like making pot have the same legal consequences as crack; it's bad policy and like every time we single out something based on people being scared of it rather than the medical facts, the law ends up screwing over people.

                        2) You're arguing that gassing a bus full of kids with Ebola should be a lesser crime than purposefully spreading HIV, because... reasons? You goalpoll shifted a bit by making it just about STIs.

                        3) Nothing in this changes things like civil lawsuits to seek damages. If someone gives someone else a STI knowingly, it being a misdemeanor or a felony doesn't change anything regarding recovering monetary damages to cover your medical treatments. The separate between misdemeanor and felony is not inherently the long term cost of the crime on society and/or the victims.

                        4) Calling a misdemeanor a slap on the wrist continually is also kinda nuts. You still go to jail/prison. You still have a record. There's still the chance of facing multiple counts for a prolonged stay. There's still other crimes you can be charged with (as already discussed in previous posts). Also being convicted of a felony doesn't mean you don't get a "slap on the wrist." Under CA law you could get 2 years probation for purposefully giving someone HIV with the current statutes in place if no other crimes are part of the charge. In the case of a sex crime, the purposeful transmission of HIV adds... 3 years to the sentence (which doesn't stop you from getting probation/etc. and getting out early). So lets not act like the law is somehow stopping people from getting 20 year sentences. If they were going to be in jail for decades, it would be because of all the other crimes they committed in the process of spreading the disease on purpose. The status of spreading it as a misdemeanor or a felony is practically irrelevant to that goal.

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                        • #13
                          A misdemeanor isn't a felony, it doesn't account for ruining someone's life purposefully and maliciously. If someone uses any bacteria or virus to harm someone to a sufficient extent then yes they should be charged with a felony. I'm against anyone trying to use any method to end someone else's life. My issue is that you should be punished for a crime because you commited one. I'd rather have everything go up to a felony rather than a slap on the wrist. Yes, you do have to go to civil court and could get restitution but this isn't an easy cocktail to deal with. And depending on how long you've had it, the effects and strain treatments might not be enough.

                          Also percentages are bullshit. Herpes B is a much rarer disease and comes from monkeys, it's usually veterinarians and wildlife caretakers of a specific subset of monkeys, who have to worry about it the most. Percentages don't tell us the number of infected people. 35% of people dying of aids complications is still in the millions compared to the hundreds of cases of herpes B.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Epimetheus View Post
                            A misdemeanor isn't a felony, it doesn't account for ruining someone's life purposefully and maliciously.
                            Your attributing far too much to words here. As I pointed out, in terms of actual punishment, the difference is not born out on the statues that exist. It being a felony doesn't create the harsh punishments you seem to desire it to.

                            People that go to prison for long sentences don't do so because of being convicted of intentional transmission of a disease. They go to prison for a long time because the host of other crimes with much longer associated sentences that invariably get charged in addition to the intentional transmission of a disease (and those sentences have mandatory increased minimums when they get stacked together with misdemeanors too).

                            You're not acknowledging the facts here (at least presenting a source of facts that has more authority than what I've barely referenced). The way the laws are setup, you don't go to jail/prison for lots of time for spreading diseases. You go to jail for getting convicted for attempted murder (if the disease warrants that), aggravated assault (probably), battery, rape/sexual assault, etc. The transmission of a disease tacks on a few years at worst. If the judge wants to sentence you to prison or the rest of your life after you went around raping people to infect them with HIV, it's all the counts of rape, battery, and attempted murder that will make sure you never get out. Reducing transmission of HIV to a misdemeanor isn't going to make a lick of difference.

                            If someone uses any bacteria or virus to harm someone to a sufficient extent then yes they should be charged with a felony.
                            OK, well, take that up with your local lawmakers if you want to advocate for that as a separate felony from whatever form of felony assault/battery combo the criminal in question would already be facing.

                            In the meantime, can you acknowledge that singling out one disease in the law to have a different status than other equally deadly/damaging/etc. diseases is not logical law? It doesn't matter how rare a disease is. If someone purposefully infects someone with Herpes B they shouldn't get off lighter than someone that purposefully infects someone with HIV, because fuck both of those guys equally, right? Herpes B being more rare shouldn't not make that crime lesser, right? Can we at least agree on this?

                            Also percentages are bullshit.
                            No, they're data. If you don't like how they're being used, make your point with valid data that support your conclusions.

                            Percentages don't tell us the number of infected people. 35% of people dying of aids complications is still in the millions compared to the hundreds of cases of herpes B.
                            Actually, thousands compared to hundreds (in the Western World were HIV treatments are more available). The 35% is not per year, but total over time, and only from one city. And that number lags considerably behind current medical treatments because of it being over time, it includes patients that survived from before better drugs were invented and then died later.

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                            • #15
                              In most cases it's just a dude worming his way out of wearing protection so he can infect someone. Spreading a deadly disease knowingly and purposefully is an issue, letting someone get away with it is bullshit. Even with a treatment, if the person is just ignorant they could easily be too late for treatment. I suppose you are right but I think the felony itself might be a deterrent but deterrents don't usually work.

                              I'm not at all saying that herpes being rarer means it's less severe just that it's not comparable. That being said no i don't think one should be considered lesser.

                              Okay percentages being bullshit is hyperbolic. Percentages have their usages I just think when it comes to infections or cases by race percentages only tell half the story and are deceptive in nature without a breakdown of the numbers. Also it depends on the HIV, there are like 2 versions 4 strains of HIV-1 and countless strains of the first. A year ago in cuba a strain that lead to aids in three years instead of the usual five popped up. Not everyone has the same sex education and not everyone realizes that they could be in major danger until it's too late even in 1st world countries.

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