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July 7, 2009

Michigan Sex Sting Raises HIV Disclosure Concerns

The Lansing Police Department faces legal backlash after publicizing the HIV status of a man accused of trying to engage in sexual intercourse without first disclosing his status, The Michigan Messenger reports.

Advocates say the report—detailing a May 22 sex-sting operation at Fenner Nature Center—violates the state’s HIV confidentiality laws. However, Lansing city attorney Brigham Smith authorized the leak of the police report along with the man’s HIV status.  According to Smith, the disclosure was legal because the federal Health Information and Portability Act (HIPA) did not apply to the city.

According to the incident report, the accused man allegedly exposed himself to an undercover officer and consented to three-way sex. At the time, the accused told his partners he was negative but admitted to being positive after authorities arrested him and found “containers of medication” in his car.

“Since this police report is a public record, the information regarding his HIV status should have been redacted, and absent his expressed authorized permission to disclose, or a court order, this information should not have been included in the report you were given,” said Jay Kaplan, staff attorney for American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan’s LGBT project.

Search: Lansing, Michigan, sex sting, disclosure, criminalization

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