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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
Judge Refuses to List AIDS as Sexual Disease
Lewin, Tamar
November 16, 1988
New York's Health Commissioner does not have to list AIDS and HIV infection as communicable and sexually transmitted diseases, a State Supreme Court justice in Albany ruled yesterday. Justice F. Warren Travers ruled that David Alexrod had the discretion to determine whether AIDS should be placed on the list. Once such a listing is determined, epidemiological measures, such as mandatory testing and reporting and contact tracing, begin. The listing would also allow a doctor to test a patient he or she suspects of being a virus carrier without the patient's consent. Such an action would contradict a state law passed last summer that requires informed consent before testing. Currently, only AIDS cases need be reported, not HIV infection. The Medical Society of the State of New York and the State Societies of Surgeons, Orthopedic Surgeons, Obstetricians and Gynecologists petitioned the state. Alexrod says AIDS is communicable and sexually transmitted, but argues that listing it would be counterproductive to efforts to fight HIV spread.