Intentionally passing HIV -- what should the moral / legal reaction be?

I don’t know about a thread where you gave a link to an actual scenario. But this actually happens with a fair degree of regularity.

The reason why I am asking this is to provide a little variety on the “moral theology” forum and to discuss an actual application of moral theology in the world. (Face it, this topic is a little bit different than the usual “IS IT A MORTAL SIN IF I ____(fill in the blank)_____” thread that predominates on this forum.

While the question about whether this being a crime or not is being answered with a clear majority of respondents, the question about if prison protects society from the perpetrator in this case is largely going unanswered. That is actually (IMHO) the more interesting topic here.

The prisons can’t do more than warn other prisoners about who is HIV positive, but I don’t know if prisoners give up all rights to privacy. I know they can be searched but can their medical records be discussed?

I have never read an exception to HIPAA because the patient is incarcerated. And then what happens when the prisoner (and possibly the new HIV positive folks he has added) are released? (While, apparently, in Canada, there is life without parole, in the US, a murderer can come up for parole after not that many years)

Should HIV positive people receive a tattoo to indicate that they are infected?

Should they be isolated permanently from non-HIV infected people (if they ever have sex after becoming infected)?

Any measure that society takes that would protect itself against a potentially serious public health threat would be offensive to the individual rights of the HIV patient who might have a hard time controlling his sexual impulses.

We constantly hear about those individual rights, but what about society’s right to defend itself?

CCC 2266 shows us that society has a moral right to defend itself, but how to do so without harming the dignity of the human person.

That’s what makes this an interesting question of moral theology.

I am saying that the Church never approaches the civil authorities to tell them they should pass a law to make a particular action a crime.
Show me what existing criminal laws were passed because the Church advised the civil authorities to do so.
However, the Church’s is rightly not silent on telling the authorities what actions they have made legal but should not be e.g. abortion, gay marriages etc.

As for the thread topic, as far as I know, deliberately passing on HIV is already a crime, i.e. attempted murder or murder.

I think a person who intentionaly spreads the HIV virus should be charged with attempted murder.

When imprisoned they should be segregated from HIV- prisoners to prevent spread of the virus. All incoming prisoners should be tested at the beginning of there sentence and not released into the general population until the results are know.

This may be more common than many think. There are members of the homosexual community that purposely seek to be infected. I think this may be where ‘barebacking’ comes from. :eek:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit