The Controversy Over Hiv/Aids Disclosure Law

1331 words - 5 pages

Forty million people worldwide are infected with the HIV virus. About six percent of them will not inform their intimate partners about their health condition. Many efforts that have been made over the past decade towards establishing a HIV/AIDS law, have finally paid off. The act of disclosing the virus was written in 1990. It caused quite a stir among the citizens of the United States. Many people concluded that there were holes in the disclosure law concerning HIV/AIDS because it lacked complete thought. Some felt that if HIV positive people had to tell others about their condition, they would be more susceptible to discrimination and rejection. Essentially, it was a law that ended a few problems and then led to a massive predicament.

As the HIV virus pandemic arose, so did the voices of a plethora of distinct individuals- victims who were infected with this life long curse. However, these victims were unaware of their intimate partner’s sickly condition. In this case, the partner failed to disclose that he/she was HIV positive. As a result, in 1990, the tables started to turn. The victims, who were unaware of the risk they were taking with their partner, finally became the center of attention. (Wallace, 2005) Since 2004, in California, it has been considered a felony when the infected person recognizes that he/she is HIV positive, when he/she has not informed his/her partner, and when he/she intends to pass it on. (California department of Health Services, 2004) Even though the establishment of the law was based on good intentions for the sake of potential victims, problems were solved as new ones began. Some people support the law because it benefits the partner who is at risk. Others in society argue that the law lacks specificity, the foundation of historical medical ethics, and the concern with the uproar of the HIV/AIDS stigma.
The California Department of Health Services had written a section of their California HIV/AIDS Law titled, “Exposing Another Person to HIV”. The fact that the infected individual has to be aware of their HIV status and inform his/her partner is very blunt and straight forward; although, the third part of the law dealing with the intent to purposely infect a healthy individual
HIV/AIDS Disclosure Law 2
remains obscure. In most situations it is difficult to know exactly what the suspect was thinking at the moment. This leads to an inconclusive verdict. A similar example was seen in the case of Kanengele-Yondjo in 2003. He was accused of spreading the HIV disease to two females without telling them that he was HIV positive. Rather than fifty years in jail, he was sentenced to fourteen years. The reason why the sentence was shorter than planned was because it was difficult to prove he had intentionally spread the disease, considering that he slept with several other women who did not get infected. (Wallace, 2004) Either way, there is no legislation which specifically makes knowing the possibility of...

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