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HIV criminal penalties bills still in committee

Flickr User David Shane

Legislation in Michigan would reduce criminal penalties for people who intentionally don’t tell their sexual partners that they have HIV in order to spread the disease.

The bills have stalled in a state House committee.

Democratic Representative Jon Hoadley is a bill sponsor. He says there’s an unintended consequence of this type of law – people don’t get tested and treated.

“What it still says is that stigma related to those people who are living with HIV is still real, and we’ve got work to do.”

Hoadley says people get blackmailed. Former partners of people with HIV have threatened to go to the police and accuse them of intentionally not disclosing their status.

The bills were part of a package aimed at modernizing the state’s policy about HIV. Those bills passed out of the House and are now in the Senate.