An interesting case. I’m one who believes that if you’re HIV positive, if you have hepatitis, if you have a really bad cold, you really ought to tell your sexual partner(s) before doing the deed. Especially the first two, since you’ll get over a cold. I’ve talked with people who disagree with me – they think it’s the duty of the other person to ask if you’re HIV+. But even then, there’s nothing to stop you from lying.
Who has the duty? And should they be charged with a crime if they don’t tell you (without asking) or if they don’t tell (and you did ask)?
Edwin Bernard, a writer and advocate specialising in HIV prosecutions, believes that prosecutions and laws on HIV transmission may do more harm than good in terms of reducing the spread of infections.
He told BBC World Service that studies in the US had found that they have had no real impact on new infections.
When the 24 US states which have disclosure laws were compared with those that do not, there was no impact on the rate of transmission or the level of unprotected sex people engage in, he said.
“By singling out HIV, it really promotes fear and stigma,” Mr Bernard added.
Then again, it’s not just about incentives. Laws exist to also punish. But, if such laws promote a stigma around AIDS, they could make it harder to educate and treat people, so that’s another issue you have to consider.