Legalities of Non-Disclosure
Jun 15, 2005
I recently read your response to a question by a gentleman who said his brother is not disclosing his HIV status to his partners. I would agree with your assessment that he is not legally bound to disclose to his brothers partners, but I would caution that some states have laws that make non-disclosure of a positive HIV+/AIDS status to a partner, who then contracts the virus as a result, a criminal act.
You may want to tell the gentleman who asked the question to check with the state laws where his brother lives and make sure his brother can't be prosecuted for non-disclosure.
In this day and age, knowing the laws will not only protect his brother but may end up protecting himself if one of his brothers partners becomes infected and then hires a lawyer naming him since he knew his brothers status.
It is a litigous society we live in so better to know the answers up front.
Response from Ms. Breuer
Dear Nancy, I'm replying to and posting your letter so that it will appear on the site and fill out the picture. Yes, most (probably all by now) states have criminalized non-disclosure of HIV to a sexual partner as either a misdemeanor or a felony. I am not aware of any state having criminalized non-disclosure by a relative. This case is complicated by the HIV-positive brother's mental illness.
On this site, we stress protecting yourself rather than relying on a partner's disclosure. Putting your own health so completely in someone else's hands is an abdication of responsibility.
A better answer would have been to suggest a family session with his brother's mental health counselor so that all three could talk about how to handle this disclosure issue. Nancy
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