To Tell and Not to Tell: The Illinois Law on HIV Disclosure
“In the name of protecting the health of all men and women, states should extend the privilege of HIV disclosure to any and all endangered third parties, not just spouses. As it stands, Illinois law uses marriage as a test of moral entitlement to public health protection in a way that works against the full value of disclosure privileges and that is ultimately inconsistent with a principled respect for all people at risk of HIV infection.”
So writes Timothy F. Murphy in the Perspective section of the September-October 2009 issue of The Hastings Center Report. As it currently stands, Illinois as other states do “gives physicians the privilege-but not the duty-to disclose an HIV infection to a patient’s spouse, even if they must override the patient’s wishes that they not do so.”
What Illinois lawmakers, however, did not extend was this privilege to a permanent couple who were not married or were simply sexual or needle-sharing partners.Thus the potential benefit, under these conditions, of informing, educating, diagnosing and initiating treatment if that other party was found to be HIV positive would be limited only to legally married couples.
What does this say about the Illinois lawmakers and their motivations to facilitate the treatment and prevention of spread of HIV and their apparently greater motivation to encourage a man to woman legal marital relationship?
Is this legislative action true public health or trying to extend a philosophical or religious bias? ..Maurice.