Politics

Here’s How The Biden Administration Would Support Decriminalizing HIV Transmission

(Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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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.”

“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 HIV 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 knowingly spread HIV to other people without their consent.” (RELATED: LGBTQ Groups Warn They Are ‘Particularly Vulnerable’ To Coronavirus Due To Smoking, Cancer, Discrimination Rates)

Biden is going to make it legal to knowingly spread HIV to other people without their consent. pic.twitter.com/h57F3Ro6XK

— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) December 29, 2020

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.”

.@PeteButtigieg says criminal penalties for not informing a sexual partner that you are HIV-positive are “unfair and needs to change.”

The argument is that if the virus is undetectable it is untransmittable. pic.twitter.com/BxWFhuwmbS

— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) October 11, 2019

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.

“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.”

The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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