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When are you required to tell?
Jun 16, 1997

I do amateur theater and am often cast as the leading man and have to kiss leading ladies. I think some of them would be pretty flipped out if they knew I was HIV positive. If someone found out, could I be sued? I mean is it a requirement that I tell people I kiss on stage??

Response from Ms. Breuer

Because saliva does not transmit HIV, there are no documented cases traced to kissing. You are under no obligation to disclose your HIV status to your leading ladies because you are not putting anyone at risk. I cannot say that if someone found out, you would not be sued, because there is no predicting in this culture what people will sue over. But if it got so far as a courtroom the plaintiff would have to depend on "emotional distress." Even that shouldn't get her far; it doesn't seem reasonable to hold you responsible for the emotional distress caused by ignorance, and there have been cases where judges threw out cases based in irrational fear. Your obligation to disclose your HIV status is an obligation to a sexual partner or a person with whom you share a needle, not to a fellow actor.

- Nancy Breuer



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