Hiv And Your Rights: Faq
U.S. civil lawsuits: HIV and your rights
Your HIV status is an issue which may come up in civil lawsuits. Unlike criminal cases, in civil cases, you are not being charged with a crime and cannot go to jail. Instead, you are being sued, or are suing someone, for some sort of harm. Guilty parties in civil lawsuits usually have to pay money damages, but they may also be required to undergo training and stop the behavior that led to the lawsuit.
Can a sexual partner sue me if I do not disclose my HIV status?
Yes. HIV-positive persons should inform potential sexual or needle-sharing partners of their HIV status. If you have HIV and you do not inform your sexual or needle-sharing partner, s/he may have grounds to file a lawsuit against you. Even if you do not transmit HIV to your partners, they may sue you for placing them at risk. If you have protected sex, it will be more much more difficult for a sexual partner to sue you.
Can I sue someone for disclosing my HIV status or HIV test results without my consent?
Yes. Disclosure without your consent may violate your rights to privacy, HIV confidentiality, and patient health care record confidentiality.
Can I sue someone for discriminating against me because I am HIV-positive?
Can I sue my health care provider if I believe s/he exposed me to HIV?
Yes. You may be able to sue depending on the circumstances.
Can a court order HIV testing of individuals?
Can Information about my HIV status be kept confidential if I go to court?
Can My Partner Be Found Guilty Of Negligence
Yes. Regardless of your state, if your partner knew he or she was infected with HIV and failed to inform you, the person may be sued for negligence. To prevail in a negligence case, you would need to prove the following:
- Your partner knew he/she had HIV
- Your partner had a duty to inform you or duty to prevent the transmission of his/her STD
- This duty was breached and,
- As a result of the breach of duty, you contracted HIV.
In negligence cases, the plaintiff only needs to demonstrate that a reasonable person in the defendants position would have told his/her partner that he/she had a HIV before having sex.
Further, negligence does not require that the defendant had ill intent. In that regard, a defendant who used protection can still be found negligent and liable for compensatory damages to the plaintiff.
Liability For Infecting Another Person
A plaintiff can sue a defendant for transmission of an STD underseveral legal theories : negligence, battery, or fraud.
Under a negligence cause of action,the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed a duty to theplaintiff and that the defendant knew or should have known that he orshe had an STD that was likely to be passed on to the plaintiff.
A judge will almost always find that a defendant owes a duty todisclose to a sexual partner that he or she has an STD. So, if thedefendant should have known about the STD, had intercourse with theplaintiff, and transmitted the disease, the defendant’s liability islikely. Note that it is also possible, in some circumstances, to suefor exposure to an STD, although no transmission occurred. This kind of case can be based on negligence or intentional infliction of emotional distress.
A battery cause of action for transmission of an STD is similar toother civil battery actions, which involve the defendant’s intentional,unconsented harmful contact with the plaintiff.
With an STD case, although the plaintiff may consent to intercourse,he or she is not consenting to intercourse accompanied by the known riskof contracting an STD. Additionally, it is not necessary that thedefendant specifically intend to transmit the STD — going forward withintercourse with the knowledge that transmission could occur is enough.
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Can I Sue A Sexual Partner If He Fails To Disclose He Is Hiv Positive
December 3, 2015 By Micha Liberty
A sexual partners failure to disclose his or her HIV positive status is a hot topic right now. Charlie Sheen recently publicly disclosed that he was diagnosed as being HIV positive four years ago. In an interview on the Today show, he said that he had engaged in unprotected sex with only two women since he had been diagnosed. He said that both women were under the care of his doctor and were warned about the diagnosis ahead of time.
Sheen also said that it was impossible that he knowingly transmitted the virus to others. Since his diagnosis, he claims to have paid $10 million to keep people silent about his illness. He says he does not know how he contracted the disease, but that he did not engage in high-risk activities like using intravenous drugs with shared needles.
Currently, Sheen does not have AIDS. Medical advancements have turned HIV into a manageable illness, but antiviral drugs must be taken for a lifetime. Sheens doctor says that the actors main battle is not related to HIV, but is substance abuse or depression as a result of his diagnosis. Sheen also claims that he disclosed his status to some of his former lovers, including both of his ex-wives.
Hiv And The Law In Queensland
There is no specific law regarding HIV transmission in Queensland. Instead, the Public Health Act and the Queensland Criminal Code Act govern the transmission of HIV. As these two pieces of legislation have not been tested in great depth in Queensland Court, their exact and precise meaning is not known. However, the best way to understand your legal obligations is to interpret the law as it currently stands.
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Battery Negligence And Stds
Negligence is defined as causing harm to someone in a reckless or careless manner. To be held liable, a party must have a duty and breach it somehow, and the breach must cause harm to another persons body or property. Everyone has the duty to act non-negligently, and in the context of spreading HIV, it means that an infected person has a duty not to conceal his/her status from others.
Spreading HIV can result in a negligence suit, which does not consider intentso the defendant could not use their unintentional spreading of the disease as a defense. Even the use of prophylactics may not completely remove liability in these cases. Transmission typically results in a battery lawsuit, which does consider intent. If a person intentionally has relations with someone to infect them with HIV, battery charges and civil liability will follow. These lawsuits are intrusive and expensive, and unless the potential recovery justifies the time and cost, it isnt worthwhile for a victim or a personal injury lawyer.
What If A Person Does Not Know For Sure If They Are Infected With Hiv But May Have Reason To Believe That They Are
If a person does not know for sure that he/she has an HIV infection, but may have reason to believe that he/she has been exposed to a significant risk of contracting the infection, he/she is also prohibited from engaging in sexual activity unless:
The written consent of the public prosecutor is required to institute prosecution for the above offence, but not for a person charged with that offence to be arrested.
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Std Laws You Should Know About
By Erin Danly
Getting or transmitting a sexually transmitted disease is not only a health matter it could be a legal matter, too. Though laws vary greatly from state to state, most states have laws regarding the disclosure of health status, the transmission of STDs, and the handling of confidential medical information. Read on to find out more.
You may face criminal charges for passing an STD to someone else.
Compared to a civil case, a successful criminal case requires more substantial evidence. In many states, punishments include jail time and high fines.
You may face civil charges for passing an STD to someone else.
While criminal charges are usually concerned with punishing wrongdoing, civil charges are often focused on providing just compensation to someone who has been wronged. And that compensation can be big. An Oregon woman sued a former sexual partner for giving her herpes and won $900,000. In the civil suit, her partner was found 75 percent negligent and was found to have committed battery.
Related: Can you get sued for an STD?
Another woman sued her former partner for giving her HPV that led to genital warts and cervical dysplasia, a precancerous condition. She won and was awarded $1.5 million. And thats just peanuts compared to the supposed $52 million settlement a woman received after she claimed that her former partner, the boss of the real-life Wolf of Wall Street, gave her chlamydia that made her infertile.
Even if you used protection, you can be sued.
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Many Have Been Found Guilty Despite Lack Of Scientific Evidence
Should people who transmit HIV be prosecuted? This was the subject of discussion at the International Aids conference in Durban last month when an American soldier, Kenneth Pinkela, told the story of how he was convicted for exposing another soldier to the virus, which he denies.
Pinkelas is one of the more recent among many court cases involving the transmission real or imagined of HIV.
Willie Campbell, an HIV-positive African American man, was sentenced in 2008 to 35 years in prison for spitting in the mouth and eye of a police officer. The Texas jury found that his saliva was a deadly weapon. Yet it is virtually impossible to transmit HIV this way.
David Gutierrez, an HIV-positive sergeant in the US Air Force, was sentenced to eight years in prison after being found guilty of aggravated assault for failing to inform a number of partners about his status. On appeal in 2015, the conviction was overturned and he was instead found guilty of assault by battery.
An American court found Michael Johnson guilty of recklessly transmitting HIV in 2015 and sentenced him to 30 years. Johnson is a black gay wrestler better known by his stage-name Tiger Mandingo. The racial stereotypes that pervaded his trial are described in a powerful article by Steven Thrasher on Buzzfeed.
A South African court convicted Lovers Phiri of attempted murder for having unprotected sex with his former girlfriend without informing her he was HIV-positive.
What Should I Do If My Hiv
Under the IDA, anyone who becomes aware of a persons HIV-positive status in the performance of his/her work functions or duties is generally prohibited from disclosing any information that could identify that person, without their consent.
This restriction may apply to medical practitioners, health workers, or authorities who are enforcing the regulations connected to the spread of STIs for example.
If a person discloses any information which may identify the HIV-positive person without that persons consent, where they received such information in the performance of their functions, they may be held liable for a fine of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 3 months.
This is unless disclosure falls within certain exceptions provided for under the law, which include:
- Disclosure being required under a valid court order,
- Disclosure to a medical practitioner who is treating the HIV-positive person
- Disclosure to any blood bank
- Disclosure to the next-of-kin upon said persons death, among others.
If this happens to you, and none of the exceptions apply, then you may make a police report against the person.
We all have a responsibility to be sexually responsible towards our partner. An essential aspect of this is the obligation to disclose your STI/STD status to your sexual partner.
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Will The Offence Of Sexually Infecting Someone Result In A Criminal Record
You will not have a criminal record if you are HIV-positive and have been convicted of the Infectious Diseases Act offence of engaging in sexual activity with someone who has not voluntarily accepted the risk of contracting HIV from you.
However, if you are convicted of procurement of sexual activity by deception or false misrepresentation or of VCGH under the Penal Code, you will generally have a criminal record.
Even if you have been given a criminal record for these offences, you might still have the opportunity to have your criminal record treated as spent. This simply means that your record will be wiped clean. To qualify for having your record spent, you must first meet the following criteria:
- If you were given a prison sentence, your imprisonment term must have been not more than 3 months
- If you were given a fine, the fine imposed on you must have been not more than $2,000
- You must not have any other conviction on your criminal record and
- You must not have any previous spent record on the register.
If you meet these criteria, you then have to remain crime-free for at least 5 consecutive years, starting from the date of your release from prison, or from the date that your sentence was passed if you were given a fine.
Once you accomplish this, your record will be spent automatically, and you will be able to legally declare that you do not have a criminal record.
Background On Hiv Criminalization In Us
The following resources provide a broad overview of HIV criminalization in the United States. Specifically, these resources address the science of HIV, provide background literature on the history and practices of HIV criminalization, and the current status of HIV criminalization laws and statutes in the United States.
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Signs That Hiv Has Progressed To Aids
AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV. It is possible to prevent AIDS if HIV is diagnosed early enough, but some people will not notice the symptoms until it is too late. It typically takes 10 to 15 years for HIV to progress to AIDS, so there is ample time to get tested, but you should never take chances when the symptoms occur.
Warning signs for AIDS include:
- Unexplained weight loss
Can You Sue Someone For Not Disclosing Hiv
In certain circumstances, they may be able to sue you even if they do not become infected with HIV if you do not tell them. You may also be charged with a crime if it is proven that you intended to harm someone else. Crimes such as attempted murder can be used to punish people who knowingly infect others with HIV.
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Can I Sue My Partner For Giving Me An Std
You are well within your rights to sue and you can always sue your partner for negligence for giving you a Sexually Transmitted Disease . A good medical malpractice attorney in Michigan will tell you Michigan, along with 30 other states, has a specific law that makes it a crime for someone who knows that they are HIV positive or knows that they have AIDS to have a sexual encounter with a partner without first disclosing this information. There are several strategies used in lawsuits brought against wives, husbands, or significant others who knowingly transmitted an STD to a partner.
Std Transmission And Criminal Liability
In some jurisdictions, an individual who intentionally infects someone with a sexually transmitted disease may face criminal charges. The life-altering nature of HIV gave impetus to many such laws, which were often passed without much debate. Criminalizing STD transmission is mostly based on the carriers prior awareness of his/her condition.
However, in many of these cases, theres been no medical diagnosis or visible symptoms of HIV infection. This situation creates a murky area where intent is concerned. Can a party who didnt know he/she was ill be charged for intentionally infecting someone with HIV? These questions are hard to answer, and todays laws are usually written to prevent charges against those who were unaware of their illness.
Conversely, there are many instances where a mentally disturbed person has maliciously and intentionally infected one or more people with HIV. These situations result in battery charges, as well as criminal liability for breaking laws related to the intentional transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. In some instances, a person in this situation can be charged with attempted murder.
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Which Law Is Used To Prosecute Hiv Transmission In England And Wales
The law used in England and Wales to prosecute people for HIV transmission is the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 . People are prosecuted under the section on grievous bodily harm.
There are two possible offences – reckless transmission and intentional transmission .
You must have actually transmitted HIV to be successfully prosecuted.