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Tuesday 9 June 2009

New Zealand: Article examines implications of 'HIV predator' case

After all the hysterical media reporting surrounding the current 'HIV predator' case comes a thoughtful analysis of the situation from the New Zealand Herald. The article also usefully includes a summary of the most important criminal HIV transmission cases over the years.

I include the first few paragraphs below. Click here to read the full article.

HIV-positive: The case for disclosure
By Chris Barton
Saturday Jun 06, 2009

Many questions arise from the case of the 40-year-old HIV-positive man charged with wilfully infecting three other men with HIV and attempting to infect a fourth.

Not just why the man, now in custody with name suppression, allegedly did what he did. Or why it took so long for the police to stop him. Or why our laws are so out of date that doctors and other health professionals are uncertain about what to do when they come across such reckless behaviour. Or why HIV is not a notifiable condition.

Puzzling as all that sounds, the greater mystery here is why did the man's sexual partners participate the way they did? Why, after decades of messages honed from the reality of the Aids epidemic 25 years on, did they not practise safe sex?

Past cases include:

1994 Kenyan musician Peter Mwai sentenced to seven years jail for having unprotected sex with five women and infecting two with HIV. Deported in June 1998 having served four years in jail here, Mwai died in Uganda in September 1998.

1999 David Purvis, a 31-year-old Pakuranga invalid beneficiary, sentenced to four months jail for committing a criminal nuisance by having unprotected sex with another man who did not contract HIV. Pleaded guilty.

2001 Former male prostitute Christopher Truscott held in "secure" care (he has escaped many times) in Christchurch after being prosecuted in 1999 for having unprotected sex with four men. Intellectually impaired, Truscott seemed unable to comprehend the implications of his HIV infection.

2004 Zimbabwean Shingirayi Nyarirangwe, 25, was sentenced to three years jail after pleading guilty in the Auckland District Court to four charges of criminal nuisance and three of assault relating to unprotected sex with several women.

2005 Justin Dalley found guilty of criminal nuisance by failing to inform a woman he was HIV positive - sentenced in Wellington to 300 hours' community work, six months' supervision and told him to pay $1000 reparation to the woman to cover her counselling costs and expenses. The woman did not contract HIV. Soon after, Dalley was acquitted on a second, similar charge because on that occasion he did wear a condom - possibly setting a legal precedent that by wearing a condom an HIV positive man is taking "reasonable precautions" against infection and need not disclose his HIV status.

Current A New Zealander originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo awaiting trial on charges that he had unprotected sex with a woman and infected her with the virus. It is possible he also infected other women.



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