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Do they have the right to know?
Apr 21, 1999

A former partner of mine has been diagnosed as HIV+ for the last 3 years. I know for a fact that he continues to have sexual relations with unsuspecting women and does not disclose the fact that he is HIV+. My question is should I mention to these women(whom I know) about his condition. I would feel really horrible if one of them should get infected.

Response from Mr. Shernoff

Boy is this the $64,000 question? I think that if your former partner is not letting sexual partners know, and you are friends with them then you have an obligation to approach this issue with them. Do you have any knowledge of whether he practiced safe sex with them? One way of approaching this might be by bringing up the issue of safe sex with them and inquiring if they used condoms when they were with your former partner? But be prepared that you will be probably setting yourself up for some very difficult times. The women may feel very violated by your approaching them, or very thankful. They may not trust your motives at all and you may be the target of their anger, whether this is appropriate or not. So think it over carefully before you decide to do anything. Michael Shernoff, MSW



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