Commentary on the Proposed Amendments to the Infectious Diseases Act

First Published: 29 Sep 2007

The proposal to amend the Infectious Disease Act (IDA) makes it an offence for a person who is unaware he (she) may be HIV infected to engage in ‘high risk’ sex without first informing his (her) partner that he (she) may be infected with HIV infection.

The stated objectives of this amendment are to encourage those persons who have high-risk behaviors to act responsibly, and to prosecute them if they place others at risk. Responsible behavior is defined as i) informing partners of that they may be at risk of HIV infected, ii) to have an HIV test, and iii) to take reasonable precautions during sexual activity that does not expose the partner to HIV infection.

The objectives for the amendment to the IDA may be reasonable and desirable, however there several problematic issues arising from these amendments that need to be highlighted.