The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Wednesday in two cases that examine the line between sexual non-disclosure and aggravated assault.
At issue is whether people who know they have HIV or AIDS have a legal duty to disclose their condition before having sex and whether they should be criminally charged if they don’t, regardless of transmission.
The hearing marks the first time the high court has addressed the question since 1998, when, in a landmark decision, it ruled that non-disclosure represents “a significant risk of serious bodily harm” to the exposed.
Advocates for the HIV positive argue that medical advances have since substantially reduced the risks of transmission and that the current law, as applied, only adds to the stigma of living with the disease. (Read a good, if slightly muddled, summary of that argument here. For the opposite view, check out Wednesday’s Globe and Mail editorial on the topic)