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Both sides want clarity as HIV case arrives at Minn. Supreme Court

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Minnesota Supreme Court justices hear arguments this week in a case that's about either civil rights or public health, depending upon whom you ask.

The case involves a Minneapolis man who was convicted of assault for knowingly spreading HIV through sex. An appeals court overturned the conviction, ruling Minnesota's law making it illegal to knowingly transmit a disease is ambiguous.

Now Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman wants the conviction restored. Freeman tells the Associated Press people who know how to prevent HIV's spread but choose to ignore those methods should be punished.

But civil rights groups opposed to the law argue HIV-positive adults who have discussed the issue with their partner should be allowed to make their own choices about sex.

Pioneer Press columnist Ruben Rosario notes that Minnesota's law was passed in 1995 -- a time when contracting HIV seemed to be a death sentence.

In the case that will come before the Supreme Court Tuesday, there was conflicting testimony about whether or not the accused had told his partner about his HIV status.

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