A London gay man has been convicted of knowingly transmitting HIV to another person and could face considerable jail time. It is the first time that a gay man has been found guilty of the offence in the UK (four heterosexual have been convicted of the crime in the past).
The 47 year old man was found guilty by a West London court of not telling his 37 year old partner that he was HIV positive and infecting him with the virus.
The guilty man knew at the time that he had been HIV positive for seven months, but chose not to disclose it, even when confronted about his status by his partner. The partner only discovered that he was HIV positive when he himself was tested, and took the matter to the police.
The man, who had originally planned to plead not guilty, eventually changed his plea – upon hearing the evidence – to admit that he was guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm. Det. Con. Elliot Toms, an investigator in the case, told the Sun Newspaper that, “He is a callous, individual who has behaved in an unfaithful way. He gave us no indication as to his intent or motivation.”
Some AIDS activists, such as the UK’s National AIDS Trust, have however condemned the conviction, concerned that these sorts of cases may lead to people refusing to be tested out of fear of being hauled before the courts.