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Do you agree with the Supreme Court decision on HIV disclosure with sex partners?

Categories: Community, Politics

The Supreme Court ruled today that a person with HIV does not have to disclose his or her status to sex partners if he or she has a low viral load and the partners use a condom.

The 9-0 ruling is an update on a 1998 decision that required HIV carriers to disclose their status and seek consent before sex.

The ruling focused on the legal definition of "significant risk of serious bodily harm," in cases where consensual sex could be considered sexual assault if one party was HIV-positive and didn't share that fact. 

The court said this "'significant risk of serious bodily harm' should be read as requiring disclosure of HIV status if there is a realistic possibility of transmission of HIV."

Its ruling concludes that "realistic possibility of transmission of HIV is negated if: (i) the accused's viral load at the time of sexual relations was low and (ii) condom protection was used."

Advocates such as the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network say there have been medical developments, and having HIV -- the virus that causes AIDS -- is no longer a death sentence. They point to medical evidence which suggests that people who take anti-retroviral medication and use condoms have almost no risk of passing on the virus.

Tim McCaskell, a Toronto HIV/AIDS activist, has also argued that some people living with the virus may not seek diagnosis out of fear of being prosecuted in the future for knowingly carrying it.

However, prosecutors have argued that there is a duty to disclose if there is any potential exposure to HIV.

Do you think the Supreme Court made the right decision?

(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)

Tags: Community, law, Politics, POV, sex

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