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Iowa Newspaper Calls on Legislature to Repeal HIV-Specific Law

Iowa Newspaper Calls on Legislature to Repeal HIV-Specific Law


The Des Moines Register says legislature should repeal the HIV criminal statue now, at end of session, and revisit how to deal with the deliberate transmission of infectious diseases next legislative session.

With the Iowa legislature now in the final days of the 2013-2014 legislative session, and lawmakers no longer being paid for their work, the Des Moines Register says the body should simply repeal the state's archane HIV-specific statute now. The editorial says the legislature can return to addressing the question of what to do about people who deliberately attempt to infect others with infectious diseases next legislative session. Here is a portion of the editorial being hailed by HIV activists nationwide this week:

"Fortunately, there are state lawmakers from both parties who now realize that making HIV transmission a crime was a mistake the way the law was written. Unfortunately, some want to tinker with an inherently flawed law, which could create new problems. 

Instead, lawmakers should repeal the 1998 law this session and then come back next year and address the complicated issue of spreading infectious disease, and not just HIV, and how to hand out penalties for someone who may intentionally do so. 

Repeal is doable. In February, the Senate approved a bill 48-0 that reduces penalties for HIV-positive people, but it would criminalize transmitting other infectious diseases, including tuberculosis and hepatitis."


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Todd Heywood