Legislative Advocacy

September 8, 2014

Hon. Governor Edmund “Jerry” G. Brown, Jr.
California State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
FAX: 916-558-3160

RE: PLEASE SIGN AB 336 (AMMIANO)

Dear Governor Brown:

Beyond AIDS is a national organization, founded and directed in California, which is dedicated to controlling the spread of HIV/AIDS. We ask you to sign AB 336.

One of the most important lynchpins in public health efforts to reduce the spread of HIV, syphilis, and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is the adoption by high-risk individuals of condom use for sex. There is no high-risk population for which this is more critical than sex workers. If sex workers become infected because of the lack of protection, and if they furthermore do not take precautions to avoid passing on disease organisms, the diseases eventually spread to the wives and future partners of their clients, and help to maintain epidemics of disease in the general population.

The information gathered by Human Rights Watch shows that the practice by district attorneys of using condom possession as supporting evidence for prosecution on prostitution charges has a chilling effect on the use of condoms by sex workers. Some sex workers feel that if they carry a sufficient number of condoms, they increase their risk of arrest and conviction. On the other hand, if they carry none, or an insufficient number, the increase their own and partners’ risk of HIV and other STDs. Prostitution itself remains illegal, but as long as it exists, condoms must be encouraged as the most important measure to assure that it does not contribute to the spread of HIV and other STDs.

Therefore, to protect the health of the public, practices of the district attorneys in this regard must change, and AB 336 will require judicial review before proceeding with the presentation of condoms as evidence. While we are disappointed that use of condoms as evidence will still be possible, requiring a hearing on the relevance of such evidence will be a step forward for HIV and STD control.

Once again, we recommend that you sign AB 336. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Ron Hattis, MD, MPH
President, Beyond AIDS
Mobile: 909-838-4157 (cell)

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