Bill would allow N.J. prosecutors to seek medical records of those spreading HIV

A bill introduced in the New Jersey legislature would allow prosecutors to access the medical records of people charged with failing to tell a sexual partner that they have AIDS or are HIV positive.

State Sen. Kip Bateman (R-Somerset County) says his legislation would allow for the appropriate prosecution of an appalling crime that can have life changing and deadly results.

“We had one victim who actually dated the individual for five years, and he never disclosed the information,” said Bateman. “He was going to the doctor. She thought it was because he had another illness, only to find out that he was HIV positive.”

If this bill becomes law, those investigating such cases could get a court order for the health records.

Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli (R-Hillsborough) is sponsoring companion legislation in the lower house.

“It sends we hope a very important message to anyone who engage in this type of selfish, irresponsible, and reckless behavior that the prosecution is going to have all the tools that it needs to successfully prosecute the case,” Ciattarelli said.

Sen. Bateman says concerns about health privacy are outweighed by the benefit to the public by prosecuting these cases.

The bill has not had a hearing yet.

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