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Friday, August 4th 2006

Responsibility In HIV

A man loses an appeal against Iowa’s HIV spreading law.

Court documents indicate Musser, 25, of Iowa City, learned in July 2000 that he carried HIV after being tested at a free health clinic. Although he knew he carried the virus and was taking medication for it, he had unprotected sex on several occasions with different partners.

The high court rejected several constitutional arguments in Musser’s appeal, including that the state law requiring a carrier of HIV to notify a partner violates the First Amendment protection against forcing speech against one’s will. The court ruled that the state law promotes a compelling state interest and is narrow enough in scope to be constitutional.

What are the arguments for and against such laws? What are the rights at stake here? What about he stigmatization of HIV+ individuals? UCSF has a nice article on the criminalization subject.