Court To Decide on Privacy, Liability in HIV Infection
The California Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear arguments in a case that seeks to determine how much sex partners must tell one another about past high-risk sexual activity to protect against possible HIV infection, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
In the case, a woman, who first started experiencing fevers and exhaustion in September 2000, claims her husband tested positive for HIV in October 2000 but did not tell her until November 2001 that he had sex with men before they were married in July 2000.
A lawyer for the woman said her husband should have told her about his past sexual activities before she consented to unprotected sex with him. Her suit claims he knowingly or negligently infected her with HIV.
Lawyers for the man argue that requiring an HIV-infected person to disclose details of his sexual history violates his privacy and that of his former sex partners without any significant health protections. In addition, lawyers said asking a jury to determine whether the defendant should have known about the infection and disclosed it or used condoms allows for intrusive and needless questioning about sexual practices, the Chronicle reports.
The court will decide whether a person who is unaware that he is infected can be held responsible for infecting his partner if past behavior or health conditions "should have given him cause for concern," according to the Chronicle. The court must rule within 90 days (Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/4).