Newton v. Riley, 899 S.W.2d 509 (Ky. Ct. App. 1995)

Court and Agency Decisions and Orders (including case law)

This opinion concludes that the cohabitation of a custodial parent with an HIV-positive stepparent is not sufficient grounds on its own for modifying a custody order in favor of the non-custodial parent.
The issue was one of first impression for the Kentucky court, and the decision was based on research in scientific and medical journals, as well as expert testimony by the HIV-positive stepparent's physician. The doctor stated that there were only three primary modes of transmission of HIV: (1) exchange of bodily fluids, (2) sharing of needles with person infected by HIV, and (3) transmission from an infected mother to her unborn child. Since nothing in the record indicated that the children would be exposed to the virus by the three primary modes, and there was no recognized risk of transmission of HIV to the children simply from casual household contact, the court concluded that there was no reason to modify the custody order.

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