HIV status

The Dom Post editorial:

The Aids Foundation supports the right of HIV-positive patients to conceal their condition from their sexual partners provided they use proper protection. It could not be more wrong.

Everybody who enters into a sexual relationship has a fundamental right to be fully informed about any risk they might be exposing themselves to. HIV might not be the near-certain death sentence it once was, and the risk of transmitting it through sex might be small with the right protection, but there is still a risk. Condoms can be faulty, they can break and can be ineffective if not properly used. It is unconscionable to advocate the right for somebody to expose another person to that risk without them knowing.

I agree absolutely. Anyone with any STD should disclose it to their sexual partner in advance. Condoms are not infalliable. If both partners know they can make an informed decision about consent and precautions.

The Court of Appeal ruling that awarded ACC cover to a woman who suffered mental trauma after discovering she had been having unprotected sex with an HIV-positive man sets an important precedent in that regard. It opens the door to sexual violation charges in cases where people who have the disease fail to tell their partners.

In some cases, that would be appropriate. Consent needs to be informed consent.

The Aids Foundation claims that allowing sexual violation charges against people who know they have HIV but fail to tell their sexual partners will increase discrimination and lead to a “significant decrease” in testing. That is a cop-out. The Court of Appeal case was not about the rights of people with HIV, but the rights of those with whom they wish to have sex to have a full understanding of the possible consequences.

The Aids Foundation disagrees. It is happy for those who have HIV to keep that secret from their sexual partners, provided they use condoms and lubricant. Its position is irresponsible and does nothing to engender confidence that it has the community’s health as its highest priority.

I agree. There’s little point in people getting tested if they can conceal the results from their sexual partners.

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