Tony Ficarrotta, JD, MA, a 2016 graduate of Duke University School of Law, discusses HIV disclosure laws.
This presentation will engage with two potential justifications for statutes prohibiting people living with HIV (PLWH) from engaging in sexual activity before disclosing their HIV status to their sexual partners: (1) that disclosure laws are justified for public health reasons because they reduce the transmission rate of HIV (“Public Health Justification”); and (2) that disclosure laws are justified because they promote the sexual autonomy of PLWHs’ prospective sex partners, whose consent to sex is impaired without knowledge of HIV status (“Sexual Autonomy Justification”).
It will argue that both potential justifications fail for broad disclosure laws. The Public Health Justification fails because, not only are disclosure laws ineffective public health measures, but because they inappropriately express condemnation toward PLWH in response to a public health issue. The Sexual Autonomy Justification fails for overbreadth, because disclosure laws cover too much low-risk or essentially no-risk conduct to qualify as objective enough to support a legal duty to disclosure HIV status in all cases. The presentation will discuss non-disclosure of HIV status in comparison to cases involving spousal impersonation, therapeutic fraud, and contraceptive fraud.
The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University Law Center is the premier center for health law, scholarship, and policy. Its mission is to contribute to a more powerful and deeper understanding of the multiple ways in which law can be used to improve the public’s health, using objective evidence as a measure. The O’Neill Institute seeks to advance scholarship, science, research, and teaching that will encourage key decision-makers in the public, private, and civil society to employ the law as a positive tool for enabling more people in the United States and throughout the world to lead healthier lives.