The DMV had earlier denied a request by Julien Pierre, 32, Santa Clara for a plate reading, "HIV POZ."
DMV spokesman Mike Mardano told the San Jose Mercury News Wednesday that HIV should have been treated like any other medical condition.
"'HIV POZ' would be no different than if you say something about a heart or a lung," Mardona said. "It was not an offensive configuration."
Pierre told the Mercury News he was delighted with the DMV's decision and said HIV was nothing "you need to hide from or be ashamed of."
The newspaper noted that the HIV license plate issue had actually been litigated a while back, resulting in a 1998 federal court ruling that denying an applicant's "HIV POS" license plate amounted to a violation of his right to free speech.