A Washington court recently issued a cease-and-desist order against a man, known as “AO,” who is accused of spreading HIV to his sexual partners. Since his diagnosis in 2008, “AO” has infected at least 8 sexual partners. Although the King County Department of Health previously issued two cease-and-desist orders against the man, those orders were ignored and the agency “felt legal enforcement was the best way to assure the health of the patient and public.” Now, “AO” is under court order to attend HIV counseling centered on adopting safe behaviors to prevent infection of future sexual partners. If “AO” disobeys this order, he could face jail time and escalating fines. This is only the second time in the history of the Seattle public health department that officials used a 1988 state law to restrain a contagious person infected with a sexually transmitted disease.
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