I think the laws should stand. If people are consenting there should be no problem and they should be in a trusting relationship. TO NOT disclose could still place a person in harms way regardless of precautions made. Systems fail, Viruses mutate. If they have nothing to fear then why not tell the person you intend to be intimate with the truth? Again TRUTH. A very simple word, the laws were established because people were not being honest or telling the truth. The little matter seems to have been left out of the discussion. No, you change the laws people will come in contact with HIV that would not have if disclosure were required and done. What about the rights of the person having sex with someone with HIV? Where are their rights? Again, one sided article, the author already knew where they wanted to take the discussion before they started to write it,
But why only HIV should be persecuted? there are other STDs that cannot be cured and impair the quality of life (hepatitis C) but there is no law persecuting non-disclosure of this disease. HIV is exclusively targeted and the question is, whether it is still necessary, considering current treatment options.
“TO NOT disclose could still place a person in harms way regardless of precautions made.”
This is completely false. If you take precautions (be on effective treatment, condom use, or both), you will not put anyone in harm’s way.
“Systems fail, Viruses mutate.”
If you are on effective ART, your virus is very unlikely to mutate because the viral replication process is kept in check. In the rare instance it does mutate, however, current medications have strong genetic barriers that are able to keep the new strains under control.
“If they have nothing to fear then why not tell the person you intend to be intimate with the truth?”
Unfortunately, stigma and discrimination based on someone’s HIV status are real and some people DO have many things to fear about disclosing. We’re not necessarily talking about fear of rejection, but fear of being socially ostracized, losing a job, etc. This is confidential medical information for a reason. I agree with you, however, that you deserve to know the truth if you directly ask the person about his/her status.
“the laws were established because people were not being honest or telling the truth.”
Absolutely false. Laws were established in the 80s and 90s because, at the time, HIV/AIDS was a death sentence and the science regarding transmission was not well understood. Now we know that being virally suppressed means effectively zero risk of transmission.
“What about the rights of the person having sex with someone with HIV? Where are their rights?”
Fair point. But if you’re going to have sex with anybody, regardless of HIV status, then you should ask and have a right to obtain a truthful response (we probably agree on that). But to give the full weight of the responsibility to the HIV+ person to disclose and take precautions for you, that is simply absurd. People who engage in sex have shared responsibility for their actions. If you rely on other people’s words to make decisions regarding your own sexual health and behavior, then you’re certainly more likely to contract either HIV or any other STI.
A very thoughtful examination of an issue that touches the lives of many of us, either directly or indirectly, but never knew it was this systemic. Rod McCullom gives it a name and a face! Well-written and researched. Bravo
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