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Supreme Court set to rule on duty to disclose HIV to sex partners

OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada will issue a ruling today on whether it is a crime for people with extremely low levels of HIV to withhold that fact from their sex partners.

OTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada will issue a ruling today on whether it is a crime for people with extremely low levels of HIV to withhold that fact from their sex partners.

The Supreme Court will be ruling on two separate cases, from Manitoba and Quebec, essentially updating its landmark 1998 ruling on the subject.

Some critics argue the old ruling is outdated because of medical advances since then in treating the virus that causes AIDS.

The court ruled 14 years ago that people with HIV must inform their partners of their condition, or face a charge of aggravated sexual assault, which carries a maximum life sentence.

Interveners in the case say advances in HIV therapy have resulted in people able to live long lives with minuscule levels of virus that are almost impossible to transmit.

Prosecutors from both provinces have argued that HIV carriers have a duty to inform their partners regardless of the risk, so they can make an informed decision.