You may expect your partner to inform you of his/her HIV status, but as far as law goes, you don't have a legal stand on this. Even horrifying is the fact that you have to rely on the quality of condom to protect you from the virus.
The Wellington District Court, New Zealand, dismissed the charges of criminal nuisance against Justin Dalley, who was charged with criminal nuisance after not disclosing to his female partner his HIV positive status before they engaged in an incident of protected vaginal sex and unprotected oral sex. The case was Dalley's second brush with the law over his HIV status. In June he was sentenced to 300 hours' community work for having unprotected sex for four months with a former partner and not telling her of his condition. Despite the earlier conviction, the woman expressed her unhappiness with Wednesday's decision, and remarked that it should be made legally mandatory to disclose the HIV status of the sexual partner.
The police officer in charge of the case, Detective Constable Matthew Cleaver says the ruling means people should take extra precautions and also warned that people need to be careful before getting sexually involved with someone they don't know.
Passing the landmark judgment, the Court ruled that HIV-infected persons were not legally bound to reveal their HIV status if they were using a condom. However, Judge Susan Thomas did mention that condoms were only 80-85 percent effective in contraception.
And what if the condom is defective? One could just shudder at the thought. With over a 10-15 % risk due to a manufacturing defect, the partner could contract the disease. Even greater would be the damage if the child born of such an act contracts the disease.
Apparently, the judgment is based on prevailing laws, which need rethinking on the part of lawmakers. Neither the partner nor, in the worst case scenario, the child, can be put at such great risk when scientists and governments are trying their best to control the HIV menace at a global level.
Nelson Mandela has said very aptly, that for every moment we remain silent, we conspire against our women. For every woman infected by HIV, we destroy a generation.