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British Man Found Guilty of Intentional HIV Transmission

First Time a Man in England Is Charged With Knowingly Transmitting HIV

A U.K. court ruled found Darryll Rowe guilty in an unprecedented HIV case.

Darryll Rowe, an English hairdresser, has been found guilty of transmitting HIV to up to ten other men. And according to Deborah Gold, CEO of the U.K. charity National AIDS Trust, this is "the first time someone has been convicted of intentional HIV transmission in England." 

Gold continued in a statement, "It is not surprising that such a case is unprecedented. To be guilty of intentional HIV transmission you have to both want to harm a sexual partner by passing on HIV to them and then succeed in doing so."

According to a BBC News report, Rowe, who was diagnosed with HIV in April 2015, met men on the gay dating app Grindr and have condomless sex with them (in some cases he would allegedly use a faulted condom). Afterwards, he is reported to have sent some men text messages, reading: "I have HIV LOL. Oops!"

Additionally, Rowe reportedly claimed to believe he cured himself of the virus through months of drinking his own urine.

Gold stressed Rowe's behavior is "vanishingly rare," noting in her statement that the"overwhelming majority of HIV transmissions are from people who are unaware they are HIV-positive (having not been tested) and, therefore, unaware that there is a risk they could pass the virus on."

She also noted what hundreds of HIV experts and prevention organizations around the world have acknowledged: "People who are on effective HIV treatment [and are undetectable] cannot pass the virus on."

"In the UK, 93% of people diagnosed with HIV are non-infectious for this reason. We are all responsible to practice safer sex with new and casual partners ... and when appropriate discuss honestly with them how to remain as healthy as possible in our sex lives," Gold's statement concluded.

Rowe is scheduled to be sentenced January 29, 2018. 

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