A jury has convicted a man of causing serious harm to two former partners by infecting them with HIV.
In the first case of its kind in Ireland, the jury heard how the 28 year-old man was aware of his diagnosis when he infected the women.
After an eleven-day trial and just under four-and-a-half hours of deliberations, a jury of nine women and three men returned unanimous guilty verdicts on both charges.
Counsel Dominic McGinn told the jury that the man lied to the complainants’ doctor about his positive diagnosis and “went through the charade” of being tested again for the virus in 2010.
“He knew full well he was HIV positive. He was advised about having safe sex. He admitted that to gardaí and he was given anti-viral medication and he didn’t take it,” Mr McGinn submitted to the jury.
HIV Ireland Responds To Case
For HIV Ireland, and many people living with HIV, this case raises a number of issues.
Commenting on the case, Niall Mulligan, Executive Director with HIV Ireland said,
“This is the first time an individual in Ireland has been convicted of causing harm by recklessly infecting someone with HIV.
“Whilst it will be for the Court to determine the appropriate sentence, it is crucial to emphasise that this is an isolated incident. The case is less about HIV transmission per se, and more about one person recklessly and knowingly putting another person at risk.
“We know that people living with HIV, who are compliant with their treatment, and have an undetectable viral load, cannot pass the virus on to someone else.’’
“International HIV medical experts, including the Centre for Disease Control in the USA, agree. When the HIV virus cannot be detected within a person’s body, it cannot be transmitted on to other people.
“This suppression of the virus comes with treatment compliance. Mr Mulligan further emphasised ‘the importance of understanding that an undetectable HIV virus means an untransmittable HIV virus.
“Without such understanding, myths about HIV transmission will continue to feed into the stigma around HIV which impacts negatively on the lives of over 5000 people living with HIV in Ireland today.”
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