This is from the latest "Dear Prudence" on Slate.com.
A close friend of mine unfortunately was diagnosed with HIV about two years ago. We are part of a circle of close gay friends. We have been extremely supportive of him, as he is young and nobody wants such a life-altering illness. He avoided dating, as well as sex dates, until he met the person who seems to be the man of his dreams. His boyfriend does not have HIV, and we figured that our friend would tell him his own status soon enough. But it became apparent that he hadn't informed his partner and has avoided doing so for the past year. I assumed they were using protection but the other night I asked the boyfriend about it. He responded, ďOf course we don't! We've been together for a year now and are monogamous.Ē I am in shock. My friend is being bizarrely protected by everybody with people advising that I stay out of their business. I have no idea how to tackle this situation. I feel that my friend's partner deserves to know, but how do I tell him, or who does it?
A couple of years ago one of your friendís dates, or even one of his ďsex dates,Ē neglected to pass on some crucial information to him, and thus passed on an incurable virus. I hope he is not justifying his own negligence by concluding such risks are the price one pays for an interesting sex life. Or maybe heís engaging in magical thinking and has concluded that if heís on antiretroviral therapy (which I assume he is) then love and a low viral load will protect his boyfriend. Itís true treatment reduces the chances of transmission. But the risk still exists and absent the use of condoms your friend is playing sexual Russian roulette with someone elseís life. I spoke to Wendy E. Parmet, associate dean of Northeastern University School of Law and an expert on public health law, and she said that in most states a person who is HIV positive and knowingly engages in unsafe sex could be found criminally liable, though such prosecutions are rare. But your dilemma is primarily an ethical one, and I applaud you for recognizing that a wrong is being done instead of shrugging off someone elseís health. Either your friend has been lying to his boyfriend or heís allowed the new love to make some false assumptions about his risk. Thatís a terrible thing to do, and you seem to be the only person in your circle clear-eyed enough to address this. Although I turned to Parmet for legal expertise, I agree with her suggestion about how you should proceed: Have a frank discussion with your friend in which you say you understand the turmoil he must be experiencing, but if itís true he hasnít disclosed his HIV status to his boyfriend and theyíre not using condoms, then something has to be done. This talk will confirm whether youíve got your facts straight, and if you do, you should tell your friend he needs to inform his boyfriend immediately. Say that if he doesnít, you will. Yes, your friendship will likely be at an end. But a person who would endanger the life of someone he supposedly loves is not much of a friend to anyone.
This is a horrible situation, the friend may have to tell the boyfriend but it really should come from his own partner.