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August 29, 2007

Making Amends, but Not Really

Following a public uproar, Michigan’s Ingham County Health Department has amended a document that is intended to track whether or not a newly diagnosed HIV-positive person had been counseled about the subject of partner notification. Previously, the notification was positioned as a “contract” for people who test positive for HIV.

The revised document is now called the “Legal Requirement for Partner Notification” and requires signers to inform past and present sexual partners, as well as people they may have shared needles with, of their HIV status within four weeks of signing the paperwork.

Michigan state law stipulates that positive people must inform their current and future sexual partners of their HIV status, but it gives no deadline for disclosure. Health officials say that signing the document is optional, and that asking people to do so is merely a means of ensuring that an individual is aware of the law. AIDS activists beg to differ.

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