The Supreme Court of Canada ruled Friday that carries of low levels of HIV who use condoms are not legally required to disclose their status to partners.
In the 9-0 ruling, the court reversed the 1998 ruling that made it illegal to not reveal HIV status when “there was a significant risk of transmission” to a sexual partner. Previously, who didn’t tell their partners could face life in prison, according to CBC News Canada.
CBC said the ruling is supposed to reflect the medical advances in treating the virus that causes AIDS since it first ruled on the issue in 1998 and left open the possibility of adapting to future changes in science in medicine.
“On the evidence before us, a realistic possibility of transmission is negated by evidence that the accused’s viral load was low at the time of intercourse and that condom protection was used,” Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin wrote on behalf of the court.
“However, the general proposition that a low viral load combined with condom use negates a realistic possibility of transmission of HIV does not preclude the common law from adapting to future advances in treatment and to circumstances where risk factors other than those considered in the present case are at play.”
Under the previous law, HIV-carriers who didn’t tell partners they had the virus could be charged with aggravated sexual assault. The maximum penalty was life in prison.
Now, as long as the person has a “low load” and wears a prophylactic.
The Court ruled on two cases in which charges brought against infected partners were overturned by appeals court, the article says. One case involved Clato Mabior, a man who had sex with nine women while HIV-positive. He was acquitted on three charges because the judge said due to his low level of HIV and his use of a condom, he didn’t’ have to inform the women. the article says.
The Manitoba Court of Appeal later overturned four of his convictions saying not all of the women were exposed to “significant risk,” the article says.
The Supreme Court said Friday that three of Mabior’s convictions should be restored because he did not use a condom, and one acquittal was upheld because he did use a condom in that sexual encounter and had a low viral load.
The other case involved a woman who had unprotected sex with a male partner without first revealing her status. She was initially found guilty, but because her viral load was undetectable during that period, the case was overturned.