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Biden plans decriminalization of HIV transmission

Biden plans decriminalization of HIV transmission

Would ‘make it legal to knowingly spread’ infection to other people without their consent

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s plan to “advance LGBTQ equality” includes a promise to decriminalize HIV exposure and transmission laws.

“In 2018, 26 states in America had HIV exposure criminal laws,” President-elect Biden’s plan reads under the subhead, “Decriminalize HIV exposure and transmission laws.”

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“These laws perpetuate discrimination and stigma towards people with HIV/AIDS, and there is simply no ‘scientific basis’ for them,” the plan continues. “As President, Biden will support legislation like the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act, which promotes best practice recommendations for states.”

The REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act directs the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Department of Defense (DOD) to conduct a review of laws, policies, regulations, and judicial precedents and decisions dealing with AIDS and persons living with the virus.

The results of this review would be made public under this legislation and then the DOJ and HHS would create guidance and “an integrated monitoring and evaluation system to measure state progress.”

Human Events managing editor Ian Miles Cheong highlighted the president-elect’s plan Monday evening, tweeting, “Biden is going to make it legal to spread AIDS to other people without their consent knowingly.”

Decriminalizing HIV has been a part of numerous presidential candidates’ platforms, including that of former candidate Pete Buttigieg, who called penalties for knowingly transmitting the disease “unfair.”

Both California and Washington state have passed legislation reducing knowingly transmitting HIV from a felony to a misdemeanor. Opponents argue that lowering penalties for knowingly transmitting the virus would only lead to an increase in infections.

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“The most effective way to reduce HIV infections is to destigmatize HIV,” bill sponsor and California state Sen. Scott Wiener told CNN in 2017. “To make people comfortable talking about their infection, get tested, get into treatment.”

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