Privacy Issues Arise in HIV Case

Wed Apr. 5, 2006 12:34 PM PDT

The California Supreme Court is currently hearing an interesting case with potentially far-reaching implications: A woman identified only as "Bridget B." is suing her ex-husband for infecting her with HIV, claiming that she had the right to know that she was at risk of exposure to the disease. The case hinges on the fact that Bridget's ex-husband waited over a year into their marriage to tell her he had previously engaged in sexual relations with men—an action considered "high risk behavior."

The defense claims that the ex-husband in question, "John B.", should be absolved of any responsibility because, while he may have known about his own sexual past, he wasn't aware that he was HIV-positive. A ruling on the case could set a precedent for what sexual partners do and don't have to disclose to each other—the defense argues that should it lose the case, all Californians could potentially be forced to "divulge all past sexual conduct that posed any remote possibility of a contagious disease." The court will hand down a decision within 90 days.

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