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County Pushes to Obtain AIDS Test Results

May 16, 1987

The San Diego County district attorney's office has appealed a lower court decision barring it from access to the results of an AIDS test conducted on the blood of a gay man who bit two police officers.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Tom McArdle said Friday that he had petitioned the state Supreme Court to hear the case. He said he hoped the court would agree to a hearing because the issue "is a topic of widespread interest."

The 4th District Court of Appeal last month rejected the district attorney's attempt to compel the release of the San Francisco man's test results for use in his battery prosecution. The court ruled that the secrecy of AIDS test results are sacrosanct under California law.

The case involves Brian Barlow, who was charged with biting two San Diego police officers during a confrontation between marchers and fundamentalist counter-demonstrators at the city's annual Gay Pride Parade last June.

Afterward, Barlow told a police investigator, "You better take it that I've got AIDS for the officers' sake." He opposed a police effort to draw a blood sample from him, and objected to the testing of the blood and the release of the results once the sample was drawn.

Prosecutors may want to upgrade the charge against Barlow to assault with a deadly weapon or attempted murder if they can prove that Barlow is infected with the AIDS virus.

McArdle said Friday that he had asked the Supreme Court for a stay of the lower court decision. He said he needed the information from Barlow's blood test for his upcoming preliminary hearing.

Barlow's preliminary hearing is set for May 27. He remains free on $8,500 bail.

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