Stronger Families. Stronger Communities. Stronger Washington

On Thursday, Governor Jay Inslee singed into law legislation to reduce the criminal penalties for the knowing transmission of HIV, as well as allow a 14 year old to seek HIV treatment without the knowledge or consent of their parents.

The law, as it was, stated that a person is guilty of felony HIV-related assault in the first degree if the person, with intent to inflict great bodily harm, administers, exposes, or transmits to or causes to be taken by another, HIV.

The governor is going in the wrong direction on this issue; especially in regards to notification of the parents and family. The law deteriorates the family structure by encouraging secrecy. Parents have the right to know if their young teenager has contracted HIV so they can understand the importance of their involvement.

Education and Counseling for the child, and the parents, will not only build a stronger family but improve the quality of life for the young teenager who will have a lifetime of treatment. That is why notice is so important.

Peter Abbarno, candidate for the State House of Representatives in the 20th Legislative District.

The law signed by the governor would limit HIV-related assault in the first degree crime to situations in which a person transmits HIV only to a child or vulnerable adult. It is now a defense to prosecution, as a misdemeanor, if the HIV transmitter attempted to take practical means to prevent transmission of the disease.

The law would,

  • Repeals statutes related to counseling for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing, the Office of AIDS, and requirements that agencies establish rules requiring acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) training for certain professions and employees.
  • Updates language and changes references in the control and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases chapter.
  • Allows a minor of 14 years of age or older to give consent to treatment to avoid HIV infection without a parent or guardian’s consent.
  • Consolidates and expands rulemaking authority for the State Board of Health relating to control of sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Modifies crimes related to transmission of HIV and repeals prohibitions on an individual who has a sexually transmitted disease, other than HIV, from having sexual intercourse if the partner is unaware of the disease.

HIV is a life-long disease and potentially life threatening. Reducing the sentence and including a “practical means to prevent” provision make light of a still serious situation. We need to protect the innocent, not those who knowingly or intentionally assault another with an incurable disease.

Peter Abbarno, Candidate for the State House of Representatives in the 20th Legislative District.
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