Low level HIV carriers don't have to tell partners
Published Friday, October 5, 2012 7:33AM PDT
Last Updated Friday, October 5, 2012 12:53PM PDT
OTTAWA -- The Supreme Court of Canada has absolved HIV carriers of the legal obligation to inform sex partners about their condition as long as they have a low level of the virus and wear a condom.
In a 9-0 ruling, the high court specifies those two key conditions, clarifying the rules on whether it is a crime for people with extremely low levels of HIV to withhold their condition from their sex partners.
The court says it was reflecting the medical advances in treating the virus that causes AIDS since it first ruled on the issue in 1998 and left open the possibility of adapting to future changes in science in medicine.
The Supreme Court ruled on two separate cases, from Manitoba and Quebec, updating its landmark 1998 ruling on the subject.
The court ruled 14 years ago that people with HIV must inform their sex partners of their condition, or face a charge of aggravated sexual assault, which carries a maximum life sentence.
Now, that duty to disclose has been removed as a long as the HIV carrier has a "low load" of the virus and wears a condom.