opinion   |   oped

STD legislation is too gray



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Isaac Haas, a former Purdue basketball player, is being sued for not disclosing his positive sexually transmitted diseased status to his sexual partner.

This case brings up the question: Where does the burden lie when it comes to knowing about one’s own STDs?

The statistics about STDs are horrifying. The American Sexual Health Association found that one in two sexually active persons will contract an STD by age 25. An estimated 80 percent of sexually active people will have an HPV infection at some point in their lifetime and about one in eight people aged 14 to 49 in the United States has genital herpes. 

With these statistics, it's no wonder people engage in sexual relations without knowing their partner's status. 

But the bigger issue is when one does know his or her own status, relating to STDs. 

At that point the law steps in and the responsibility of informing your sexual partners becomes important, which is the dispute in Haas' case. 

Frankly, most laws relating to the spread of HIV are fair and just.

In Indiana, anyone who has AIDS, HIV or hepatitis B has a duty to warn others when they engage in “high risk activity” with those people. 

Those who recklessly violate this requirement commit a Class B misdemeanor, but defendants who knowingly and intentionally do so commit a Class D felony

The editorial board believes that once someone knows he or she is positive for an STD, it is critical and necessary to inform a sexual partner. 

However, there is something to say for the difference in STDs. HIV and AIDS pose higher risks, therefore they should take precedent in the law, just as they do now. 

It is often argued there is no evidence that criminal penalties aid in HIV prevention. Likewise, with these types of laws in place, it often deters those who may have contracted any sort of STD from getting medically examined and diagnosed in fear of being prosecuted for their sexual encounters. 

Having sex can easily be a life-threatening encounter, so a person needs to consider the risks that go along with sex.

Disclosing a positive STD status should be a moral obligation to oneself, rather than a law written in the books. 

We think it's absolutely necessary to punish those who have knowingly infected others.   However, it is not always as simple as that. People may not know they have an STD, and others may not be able to prove they know. 

An ethical standard must be created in communities — particularly places like college campuses — in order to prevent the spread of STDs.

Strict laws can be both helpful and detrimental when dealing with something that often has uncertainty. 

IU should make testing — not just for HIV, but all STDs — more readily available and affordable for students.

Likewise, more widespread education and advocacy for this issue is necessary. 

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