Failing to tell your sex partners you’re HIV-positive can land you in prison, but should the same rules apply to other sexually transmitted infections?
Toronto police issued a safety alert on Sunday , notifying the public it is conducting a sexual-assault investigation into allegations that earlier this year a Toronto man had unprotected sex with a 28-year-old woman without disclosing he has genital herpes.
Police said James David Hogg, 35, has been charged with aggravated sexual assault and is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 26.
“Police believe there may be more victims,” reads the alert, which includes a photo and description of the man.
The case, however, has prompted objections that police have gone overboard in protecting people from infection.
“This is the criminal law run amok,” criminal defence attorney Jonathan Shime told The Toronto Star.
Mr. Shime, who is part of a group seeking guidelines for prosecution in HIV non-disclosure cases, noted that genital herpes doesn’t carry the same risk of harm as HIV or AIDS.
“The police just don’t get it,” he told the Star. “They are undereducated about sexually transmitted infections. Who knows what’s going to be next: genital warts?”
In 2009, Johnson Aziga of Hamilton was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder for deliberately infecting two women with HIV. Several others have been charged or convicted of aggravated sexual assault for knowingly exposing their sexual partners to HIV.
Toronto Detective Greg Forestall told the Toronto Star that even though genital herpes isn’t fatal, there is no cure and it can cause “lifelong suffering.”
What do you think? Should failing to reveal herpes and other infections be considered a crime too?