Oct 6, 7:05 PM EDT

Brown signs bill reducing penalties for HIV transmission


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation that reduces the penalty for intentionally exposing some to HIV.

The legislation signed Friday is part of an attempt by Democratic lawmakers to reverse the tough policies enacted during the AIDS scare of the 1980s and '90s.

Under those policies, intentionally exposing someone to HIV was a felony. SB239 reduces the crime to a misdemeanor, treating HIV like other communicable diseases.

Democratic Sen. Scott Wiener of San Francisco says the harsher penalties for HIV discourage people from getting tested for the disease and stigmatize those who have it.

Critics say the bill would endanger people.

Lawmakers last year approved legislation allowing people with HIV to receive transplants from HIV-positive donors, reversing a ban imposed amid widespread fear about the disease.

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