Published October 5, 2012 | 11:28 am
Toronto: In a pair of decisions, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled today that the current law demanding HIV-positive people disclose their status to sex partners does not apply in certain circumstances.
The court indicated that the obligation to share one’s HIV status can be dispensed if a condom is used and the positive partner’s viral load is low.
The Court said it is not always a crime for people with HIV to not disclose their HIV status to their sex partners as HIV-positive people who take proper medication and use condoms do not need to disclose their status to sex partners because there is no realistic possibility of transmission.
In 1998 Supreme Court decision had stated that a person must disclose a HIV-positive status before engaging in sexual contact that carries a significant risk of harm or face charges of aggravated sexual assault, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
The court also said the new ruling does not preclude the law from adapting to future advances in medical treatment and to circumstances where different risk factors are at play.The court also cited huge advances in HIV management behind the updated judgement including antiretroviral medications that can keep levels of the virus so low, they are almost undetectable.