April #143 : Dummy Up, Mom - by Nicole Joseph

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April 2008

Dummy Up, Mom

by Nicole Joseph

A court case highlights the ongoing debate over disclosing someone else’s HIV status.

Can a person be legally obligated to disclose another person’s HIV status—without the positive person’s consent? Such is the dilemma at the heart of a lawsuit before the Illinois Supreme Court. On one point, everyone involved in the case agrees: The plaintiff, whom the suit identifies as Jane Doe, contracted HIV after sleeping with her fiancé (now deceased). Doe says his parents withheld his HIV status from her—information she claims would have helped her avoid getting the virus. The parents said they didn’t know their son’s status at the time she began a sexual relationship with him; a lower-court jury ruled otherwise. At press time, the Supreme Court’s decision was imminent. Ann Fisher of the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago says, “As a matter of law it was not reasonable for her to look to her [fiancé’s] parents for information about her sexual health.” Fisher says Doe would have had an “excellent” lawsuit against her fiancé but that a law requiring people to disclose others’ status could be risky. “[Illinois state] law imposes an obligation on the person who has HIV to tell, but other than that, our law is very much that your HIV status is yours to disclose or protect as you see fit,” she says. How telling.

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  comments 1 - 4 (of 4 total)    

Tami, Iowa, 2008-04-08 09:30:19
I am shocked with this lawsuit being persued. What about confidentiality laws, we have fought for? If this lawsuit is won, I think we will all pay. Don't we have enough stigma already? No one should be "required" to disclose someone else's status. This takes away personal responsibility. Any unprotected sex, is high risk, you have to have the conversation before having sex. Like Iowa's criminal transmission law, this gives the preception that we are guilty of something.

Crowder, Raleigh, 2008-04-04 14:25:52
Well I feel it is unfair. Charges should be able to be pressed against a pos person (family who involved themselves) who did not disclose which resulted in a neg person becoming pos. from being in a relationship of 6 years.Which the family knew of. Where is the justice for this?

Elaine F., Montcello, NY, 2008-04-04 11:28:39
I would have never tried to ask my inlaws about my future hubby's medical information. I'd ask HIM! Most parents know little about their adult children's current situation anyway. It's still private medical information, even from parents. The responsibility for initiating the discussion about health risks is on both partners.

Patrick, olean, 2008-04-03 13:24:40
I think that it the pos person's place to disclose their status and noone else should be able to. I am sick of going to the local bar and people telling others about my status. There should be a way that those of us that are positive to press charges against big mouth people that tell everyone, especially when they tell because they are jelous.

comments 1 - 4 (of 4 total)    

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