Tuesday, January 11, 2011

HIV insanity proposed in Nebraska

One more time, this time with feeling. HIV is not spread by spit. It just is not possible.

That is not stopping the Nebraska legislature from creating a new law about spitting at police officers a crime.

For those not infected with Hepatitis B or C, or HIV, the spitting at a peace officer will be a misdemeanor. But for those infected with any of those three viruses, spitting at a peace office will be a felony.

Here's how the Associated Press reported the legislation:

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - State Sen. Mike Gloor, of Grand Island, has introduced a bill designed to protect police from assault with bodily fluids that can transmit diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B or C.

The bill is 1 of 5 Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning listed in his legislative package last week.

Under the measure, assaulting a peace officer with bodily fluid would be a misdemeanor, carrying a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The offense would be a felony if committed by those who know they are infected with HIV, AIDS or hepatitis B or C. The penalty would jump to up to five years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Well isn't that sweet. At a time when the federal Department of Justice is directed by the Office of National HIV/AIDS Policy in the White House to get states to review and remove HIV specific criminal laws, Nebraska is going back to the 80s to create a fear driven, fact forgotten law.


  1. I have to say that misinformation must come secondary to protection in this case. If we're still too concerned about some John Q. Idiot STILL thinking HIV is transmitted through saliva while an officer comes into contact with it through an inmate's deliberate throwing of HIV-infected semen then opponents of this bill are just as guilty as the inmate. There will always be uninformed idiots, I, however, have known you can't get AIDS from kissing since Rock Hudson kissed Linda Evans on Dynasty. And that was in the 80's! But if the inmate has a cut in his mouth or on his lip? Not so "medically inaccurate" now, is it? Inmates could potentially have any type of injury placing blood in any bodily fluid, including feces. It's dangerous NOT to pass this bill. By the way, I'm a die-hard Democrat and bleeding heart liberal. I'm working hard to rid the country of DOMA, and won't rest until everyone in this country has equal rights, including the right to marry, NOT just a civil right, but a loving, romantic right as well. But Mr. Heywood, I respectfully assert that this bill is written broadly enough to protect the officers, limited enough to protect the innocent (the law states "knowingly and intentionally" NOT "accidentally" as many HIV/AIDS advocacy groups assert - "juveniles accidentally sneezing and/or vomiting in an officer's direction could be sentenced to five years" is absolutely untrue), and could not be used to prosecute anyone who is law abiding and did not knowingly and intentionally assault an officer of the law. Not you, or anyone like you will be affected by this law. I've spent time in the criminal justice field and there are unfortunately people who are ill and not taking care of their health who would like to hurt the good people who interfere in their lives. Should you and I stand in the way of the health and well being of peace officers because some people, 30 years later, still won't take the time to listen or care about how serious diseases are spread? Someone in my family that I'm really close to and love to pieces is HIV positive so please don't tell me I don't know anything about the disease. I just dont want criminals spreading it. I'd rather have it go away.

  2. Jill

    While I appreciate the concerns here, I think the issue is one of singling out one specific virus (well three in this instance) as somehow more dangerous. There has NEVER been a transmission of HIV via spitting, even when there was blood in the inmates mouth. The Virus is not present in urine or feces, and by the time any blood got to the officer through the oxygen rich air, any free virus would be dead. HIV is an insanely weak virus when it comes to transmission, and to imply otherwise with unsound legal theories is not helpful.

    As for knowing how HIV is and is not contracted, sadly a study in 2008 by the CDC found that the level of knowledge about HIV was exactly the same as it was in 1987. Sorry, that means education efforts (which has been miserable for years) have failed. People do believe they can get HIV from toilet sets or using a fork some one with HIV has used, etc etc.

    As for the officer getting infected with HIV, Nebraska has documented ZERO cases of HIV transmission from prisoners to guards. The most common no sexual or drug related transmission is accidental needle sticks in medical situations.

    You may know about how your family member's HIV disease is progressing, but you clearly don't know the science and facts about about the epidemiology of HIV in the U.S.


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