Monday, February 22, 2021
Virginia became the first southern state to abolish the death penalty. The legislature has passed the bills abolishing the death penalty and the governor is expected to sign the bills. At one time, Virginia is was the most prolific state for implementing executions. Virginia has executed more people than any other jurisdiction.
Earlier this month, Virginia decriminalized HIV - previously the law criminalized having sex with another when one is living with HIV. The criminalization law required that the person living with HIV disclose their positive status to their sex partner, even if there is zero possibility of transmitting HIV. For those receiving treatment for their HIV, viral loads typically are undetectable. There is no possibility of transmitting HIV under those circumstances. For those states that retain HIV criminalization laws, disclosure of the condition is required whether or not transmission is possible. The bill maintains as a misdemeanor placing a sexual partner at risk of infection when a substantial likelihood of transmission exists. As one advocate said, “This bill ensures Virginia code reflects current scientific understanding of HIV and promotes public health by alleviating the stigma and mistrust of health institutions."
Fair play to Virginia for protecting human rights.