Health Care Analysis

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 49–66 | Cite as

AIDS and Sex: Is Warning a Moral Obligation?

  • Donald C. Ainslie


Common-sense holds that morality requirespeople who know that they are infected with theHuman Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) to disclosethis fact to their sexual partners. But manygay men who are HIV-positive do not disclose,and AIDS Service Organizations (ASOs) promotepublic-health policies based on safer sex byall, rather than disclosure by those who knowthat they are infected. The paper shows thatthe common-sense view follows from a minimalsexual morality based on consent. ASOs'seeming rejection of the view follows fromtheir need to take seriously widespreadweakness of will in the realm of sexuality. The author argues that gay men take themselvesto follow the common sense view, but hold thatthe possibility of a partner's HIV infection isbackground information that need not bedisclosed for sexual consent. This suggestionis criticized. The paper concludes with aconsideration of HIV disclosure and sexualethics outside of the gay community and oflegal restrictions on the sexuality of theHIV-positive.

AIDS Service Organizations gay men HIV disclosure HIV/AIDS public health ethics sexual ethics 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of TorontoUSA

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