HIV laws still valid

A question was raised as to the relevance of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disclosure laws in the case of HIV-positive individuals who are taking medicine consistently, thus suppressing the virus and not making it transmissible (Science has progressed since HIV laws were enacted, by Dr Leong Hoe Nam; Aug 7).

Timely checks are not a catch-all.

First, post-exposure screenings may not accurately capture the infection given the possibility of an incubation period.

Second, there is a possible time lag between infection and the detection test.

Third, the viral load factor in the infected person may fluctuate from the recent viral load test.

Given the above, the laws safeguarding otherwise innocent partners who cannot appraise the risk they are exposing themselves to, is still valid, notwithstanding the advancements made in HIV treatment (Man jailed for not telling partner about his HIV status; Aug 2).

Care must be exercised by individuals with HIV infection, and they have a duty to offer their partners a fair basis to exercise judgment on whether to participate in activities that will markedly place them at a heightened risk of exposure.

Therefore, such disclosure laws should continue to be in place.

Joel Pang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2018, with the headline 'HIV laws still valid'. Print Edition | Subscribe