NZ Herald Editorial. Monday March 19, 2012
The law is generous to people with HIV who do not tell a sexual partner they have the virus. They have no obligation to inform their partner as long as they practise “safe sex”. It is only if they do not protect the unwitting partner to that extent that their failure to disclose their condition becomes a criminal offence, though not as serious an offence as it really is. Thanks to a court ruling last week, the offence will now be regarded more seriously – but only for the purposes of accident compensation.
The Court of Appeal has ordered compensation for a woman who was fortunate not to be infected but suffered post traumatic stress disorder when she learned her partner of four months was HIV positive. Under stress, she took so much time off work that she lost her job. She applied for compensation on grounds of mental injury but ACC refused her claim because the crime was not in one of the eligible categories.