A bill that would decriminalize the
transmission of HIV in Virginia cleared the Senate on Friday.
According to the Washington
Blade, Senate Bill 1138 passed the chamber with a 21-17 vote.
The legislation was introduced by
Democratic Senators Jennifer McClellan from Richmond and Mamie Locke
Equality Virginia Executive Director
Vee Lamneck said in a statement that such laws “are not effective
public health strategies.”
“We are encouraged by SB 1138's
progress through the Virginia Senate, and we are grateful for the
leadership of Senator Locke and Senator McClellan,” Lamneck said.
“Existing criminalization laws are
not effective public health strategies, and that's why this bill is
so necessary,” they said.
More than thirty states have prosecuted
HIV-positive people for possibly exposing another person to HIV.
Virginia treats the transmission of HIV as a misdemeanor.
The CDC has found that such laws
discourage HIV testing and are often unequally enforced.
The House of Delegates will consider
the bill this week.