Between The Lines reports that Ingham County Health Department is “telling newly-diagnosed HIV-positive people they ‘need’ to sign a contract with the department.”
And that contract is under fire by leading HIV legal advocates who reviewed it and said the contract is in violation of state law. The contract states the newly-infected person will notify past sexual partners within four weeks, and also acknowledges the person knows about the felony HIV disclosure law in Michigan.
“There is no requirement in the Michigan statute regarding HIV testing, requiring persons being tested to sign an agreement that they will inform their partners of their HIV status,” said Jay Kaplan of the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Project. “Any policy or practice telling people that they have to sign this agreement once they test positive is wrong and raises serious concerns.”
The ICHD, in responses to a 19-question BTL request, said the contract had been approved since 2001 by the MDCH HIV/AIDS Prevention and Intervention Section. But TJ Bulcholz, spokesperson for MDCH, said that is not true.
“Nobody at HAPIS approved that contract,” Bulcholz said. “Secondly it is not a contract. That is too strong of a word. It’s an agreement that people will follow the law. And the County needs to change the language to reflect that, in our opinion, if they are going to continue to use this.
Bulcholz said the law is already clear that a person infected with HIV had certain responsibilities, and the contract was a “social contract” and “unnecessary.”