For the first time in Canada, a doctor has been charged with aiding a suicide, allegedly helping a man with the AIDS virus end his life.

Dr. Maurice Genereux, 49, was arrested Thursday and freed on $730 bail. He is accused of helping a 31-year-old patient kill himself April 11 in Toronto.The Canadian Medical Association said it appeared to be the first time a physician in Canada has faced the charge, punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Because of a court-ordered ban, the cause of the patient's death has not been made public.

Genereux is to appear in court again July 19. He can continue to practice medicine, but must not prescribe drugs.

The charge was filed against after a coroner's investigation.

The law under which Genereux is charged has been controversial.

Sue Rodriguez, a British Columbia woman afflicted with Lou Gehrig's Disease, went to the Supreme Court of Canada in a vain attempt to strike down Section 241 of the Criminal Code, which bans counseling or assisting suicide.

Rodriguez killed herself in February 1994 with the help of an unidentified doctor.

There has been one conviction under the law.