Court rules in HIV case

Switzerland's highest court has ruled that a man who unknowingly infected a woman with HIV can be held responsible for his actions.

This content was published on July 1, 2008

The Federal Court in Lausanne wrote that any person having occasional sex with another should use a condom to protect the other person. Otherwise they should expect to be accused of causing seriously bodily harm through negligence if the occasional partner is diagnosed with the Aids-causing virus.

The decision overturns an earlier one by Zurich's cantonal court after an appeal by a woman who was diagnosed with the virus. She had had unprotected sex with a man who did not know he was contaminated.

The man had previously had unprotected relations with other partners, and the country's highest court ruled that he had failed to apply the rules of safe sex.

Even if he did not know he was HIV positive, the judges said he could not ignore the fact that his own behaviour was risky, especially after one of his earlier partners had admitted being infected.

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