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Letters: HIV laws have always been inexcusable

June 13, 2013
  • The Repeal HIV Discrimination Act of 2013 introduced by Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), above, would encourage state governments to repeal laws that are based on outdated fears.
The Repeal HIV Discrimination Act of 2013 introduced by Reps. Barbara Lee… (Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated…)

Re "Those outdated HIV laws," Editorial, June 6

I agree that it is time to repeal outdated laws that make it a crime for a person infected with HIV to spit at, bite or throw his or her blood on others. However, your editorial wrongly excuses those who enacted those laws.

You reported that such laws "might have seemed reasonable at the height of the AIDS panic." They did not. They contributed to that panic. I should know, for I was already enforcing Los Angeles' landmark AIDS anti-discrimination law, which combated such fear and misinformation.

When those laws were enacted, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control had already concluded that "AIDS is a blood-borne, sexually transmitted disease that is not spread by casual contact."

Yet you reported that such laws were "based on fears that have since been disproved by science." They were not. They were based on a willful disregard of what science had already authoritatively concluded.

David I. Schulman

Los Angeles

The writer headed the Los Angeles city attorney's AIDS/HIV discrimination unit for 24 years.


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