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Mad and Bad: HIV infection, mental illness, intellectual disability, and the law

Abstract

In this paper, we discuss the way public health law was invoked in the case of Christopher Truscott, who together with another man, Richard Burley, was convicted of criminal nuisance in New Zealand in 1999 for failing to tell male sexual partners that he was HIV-positive. We will examine the order to isolate Truscott and Burley and the general issues associated with the quarantine of HIV-positive men with mental, emotional, and intellectual health problems. We analyze the impact both of the police seizure of Truscott’s files from organizations that had provided service to the convicted Christchurch men and of subsequent actions that may have had consequences in relation to HIV testing and disclosure. Finally, we discuss the structures available to advocate for, assist, and work with people living with HIV and mental illness and with emotional or intellectual disability.

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Correspondence to Heather Worth.

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MacDonald, A., Worth, H. Mad and Bad: HIV infection, mental illness, intellectual disability, and the law. Sex Res Soc Policy 2, 51 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1525/srsp.2005.2.2.51

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/srsp.2005.2.2.51

Key words

  • public health law
  • quarantine
  • counseling
  • disclosure of HIV status