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A Push To Close An HIV Loophole

It’s against the law in the Garden State for those who are HIV positive or have AIDS to have sexual relations without telling their partner about their condition, but law enforcement officials have had a very tough time prosecuting offenders, because privacy laws don’t allow them to use medical records in court.

(L-R) Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, Assemblywoman Donna Simon, and State Senator Kip Bateman
(L-R) Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, Assemblywoman Donna Simon, and State Senator Kip Bateman.during a press conference in Somerset (David Matthau, Townsquare Media NJ)

However, that could soon change.

Legislation has been introduced that would permit the release, through a court order, of a person’s medical records related to HIV or AIDS infection during the course of an investigation or prosecution when the accused person commits an act of sexual penetration without the informed consent of the other person.

“We feel very strongly that it’s our job as legislators to give prosecutors the wherewithal they need to prosecute cases and ensure that justice is served,” says one of the prime sponsors of the legislation, Assemblyman Jack Chittarelli.

Another prime sponsor, Assemblywoman Donna Simon, says “I am personally shocked and disgusted that a person could act in such a heinous manner, possibly infecting other human beings with HIV, a deadly disease. This legislation respects due process and simply closes a glaring loophole.”

State Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman, who’s sponsoring the measure in the upper house, adds “this is common-sense legislation – right now the county prosecutors hands are tied- without this legislation, they can’t prosecute the individuals in question – this makes a lot of sense.”

The legislation was crafted after a retired police captain in Somerset County, who was HIV-positive and had been accused of having sex with two women without telling them about his condition, could not be prosecuted because his medical records were off-limits.

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