13 Mar 2012

HIV ruling 'over the top' - Aids Foundation

11:36 am on 13 March 2012

The Aids Foundation says a Court of Appeal ruling that people with HIV could be charged with rape if they do not tell a sexual partner about their disease is over the top.

In a decision on Monday the Court of Appeal in Wellington ruled people with HIV could be charged with rape if they do not tell a willing sexual partner about their disease.

However, the Aids Foundation's executive director Sean Robinson says the law is adequate in dealing with people who did not disclose their disease.

The court ruled that the failure of a woman's partner to disclose his HIV status affected the woman's ability to fully consent to having sex with him.

Her lawyer, John Miller, says she could not give full consent for sexual intercourse with the man, because he did not disclose vital information about his health status.

He says any HIV-positive person who fails to do that could now be charged with sexual violation.

Earlier, the Accident Compensation Corporation accepted the Court of Appeal's findings in favour of the woman seeking compensation for the mental stress of discovering her sexual partner had HIV.

ACC had previously rejected her claim for mental trauma because the man was convicted of criminal nuisance, a crime it does not cover.

The court said the man's actions constituted sexual violation for the purposes of the ACC legislation and the woman should be covered.

An ACC spokesperson says they will be in touch with her at the earliest opportunity.

Mr Miller told the court that as ACC was a no-fault scheme, matters relating to her HIV-positive partner's state of mind should not be taken into consideration in deciding whether to grant her cover.