UPDATE: In 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 239 into law, transforming the legal landscape with respect to HIV criminalization in California. Click here for a Q&A on the new changes to the law.
Under the new law, authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D- San Francisco) and Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego), criminal penalties based on a person’s HIV status cannot be imposed unless the person acts with the intent to harm another person. Read our Q&A to understand the changes to the law, how these changes will improve public health, and the steps those previously convicted under these laws may be able to take to clear up their criminal record.
Californians for HIV Criminalization Reform (CHCR) is a coalition of organizations and individuals dedicated to ending the criminalization of HIV in California. Our mission is to mobilize a broad coalition, including individuals and communities who are disproportionately impacted by HIV, to replace fear-based, stigmatizing laws that criminalize HIV-status with evidence-based, nondiscriminatory laws that protect public health. CHCR is led by a steering committee including:
Over the past 25 years, laws were passed in California that criminalized otherwise legal behaviors or added penalties to existing crimes for people living with HIV. These laws were largely based on irrational fears about people with HIV, our limited understanding of the routes and risks of HIV transmission, a limited number of effective prevention options, and the perception of that time of HIV as an incurable and inevitably fatal disease. In the years since, medical science has greatly improved our understanding of the routes and risks of transmission, there are increasingly more effective biomedical methods of preventing acquisition of HIV, and effective treatments have dramatically lengthened and improved the quality of life for people living with HIV. We need to modernize these laws to take into account current scientific knowledge about HIV.
The efforts of the coalition are based on specific principles to modernize these laws and eliminate these problems. We believe a model law must include:
The CHCR webpages are supported through the generous contribution and support from the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
There are about 1.2 million Americans living with HIV and an estimated 50,000 new cases of HIV transmission each year. Sadly, most of these cases are among gay and bisexual men of color. That’s why now, more than ever, we need to increase awareness and uptake for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a new, highly effective tool to prevent the transmission of HIV.
PrEP involves an HIV-negative person taking the antiretroviral medication Truvada preventatively, once per day, to provide a high-level of protection against HIV. When used correctly, studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by up to 99%. The medication Truvada is currently the only medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for PrEP.
If you decide that PrEP is right for you, you will need to talk to your primary care physician. Your doctor is the only person that can safely monitor you while you are on PrEP. PrEP is for HIV negative patients only, and routine HIV screening and blood work is required to remain on the medication. The determine if you can get PrEP for free or low cost, check out NASTAD’s PrEP cost calculator, here: PrEPcost.org.
Truvada works by preventing HIV from establishing in the body. If you are exposed to semen, vaginal fluids or blood from an HIV-positive person, then Truvada acts as a protective measure to halt transmission. For optimal protection, the pill should be taken daily.
All PrEP educational content and information on this website has been compiled from information consistent with current CDC guidelines for use of PrEP, Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) guidelines, and clinical trials of oral daily PrEP.
The information provided on this website is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health, including HIV prevention.
Supported by grant funding from Gilead Sciences, Inc. Gilead Sciences, Inc. has had no input into the development or content of these materials.