DEAR ABBY: I'm writing regarding the letter from "She's Killing Them in Indiana" (July 8) and your response to the writer, whose friend is HIV-positive and doesn't tell her partners her diagnosis. I am a disease intervention specialist (DIS) in Indiana and work specifically with STDs like HIV.
In Indiana there is a duty to warn law that requires anyone who is HIV-positive to inform any past or present sexual or needle-sharing partners of her/his HIV status. At the time of diagnosis, all providers inform the patient of this, and DIS's like me are required to get a signed copy of this law from HIV-positive individuals.
This year there was a large outbreak of HIV in a rural southern area of Indiana. More than 100 new infections occurred within just three short months. If individuals like this woman do not inform partners, then the risk is high for another outbreak.
The person who wrote you should contact the Indiana State Department of Health's Recalcitrant Program and inform them of this situation. All information is kept confidential. Counseling could be provided, and then if she continues not informing, legal action could be taken against her. -- MELISSA MURAWSKI
DEAR MELISSA: Readers were upset about the gravity of that letter. They felt it was not only a health issue but also one of morality, and the legal issues could land the writer's friend in serious trouble, including jail. You are right that the person who wrote that letter should contact the appropriate authorities and report her friend's dangerous and risky behavior.