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The New York Court of Appeals will decide during its January term whether six months is a reasonable time limit for recovery of damages for “AIDS-phobia,” the emotional suffering endured by people who think they may have been exposed to the AIDS virus.

The case will be the first time that New York’s high court will consider the six-month time limit on emotional damages that the state’s Appellate Division, 2nd Department, established in Brown v. New York City Health & Hosps. Corp., 225 AD2d 36 (1996). That court reasoned that since 95 percent of HIV carriers will test positive for AIDS within six months of their exposure to the virus, it would be “unreasonable” to allow for damages for anxiety over possibly contracting the disease past that time frame.

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