California

Number of reported cases At least 800 How do we calculate the number of cases

Overview

For a comprehensive overview and analysis of HIV-related criminal and similar laws and policies in California, visit The Center for HIV Law and Policy: http://www.hivlawandpolicy.org/states/california

Laws

West’s Ann.Cal.Health & Safety Code §120290

Communicable disease law (active)
Year enacted
2018

California Code, Penal Code - PEN § 12022.85

Other law (active)

Further resources

Not all laws used to prosecute people living with HIV in this state are included on this page. For a comprehensive overview and analysis of HIV-related criminal and similar laws and policies, visit The Center for HIV Law and Policy

"Using data from the California Department of Justice Criminal Record Information system, this study examines the impact of HIV criminal laws on people engaged in sex work in California between 2005 and 2013".

Argues that laws criminalising HIV exposure fail to satisfy criminal law functions of retribution and deterrence. Retribution is problematic as laws are applied when no intention to transmit HIV, little to no likelihood of transmission and multiple factors may make disclosure difficult. Laws fail to deter unprotected sex and are a poor fit for acts that include no risk of transmission, including sex and blood donation. Instead, laws cause harm, with discriminatory enforcement compounding injustice and stigma. California’s law reform is commendable, while other problematic U.S. HIV-criminalisation statutes should be restructured, amended, or repealed.

"California has five HIV criminal laws. Using data from the California Department of Justice Criminal Record Information system, this study examines the impact of those laws on people with HIV from 1988 to 2014".

Acknowledgements

This information was last reviewed in September 2020