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A Manchester man, convicted of rape, has been told that he may have contracted HIV from his victim.

The man in question from Manchester plead guilty to rape on the 20th July 2013, and was jailed for five years and four months. He admitted that he had done so whilst under the influence of considerable quantities of cocaine, ecstasy and alcohol.

A sad story for sure, but it seems to have only made big headlines as it has emerged that the female victim of the crime is HIV-Positive and that the assailant is awaiting his HIV test results.

The reporting from various news outlets such as the BBC, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph has given us, at beyondpositive, reason to be concerned.

Several key factors with regards to how HIV is transmitted/prevented have not been included in the coverage, and an excellent opportunity to inform and educate the general public has been missed.

  • No mention is made of the victim’s infectious state, whether she is undetectable or not. If she is ‘undetectable’ then the chances of transmission are incredibly unlikely.
  • Female to male transmission is more difficult than male to female transmission – although clearly risks still exist.
  • No mention is made of the possibility that the assailant could have passed another infection on to his victim.
  • No mention is made of the fact that if he does test HIV-Positive that it is not necessarily from this one woman. We’d be remiss to not consider the high-probability of him having other sexual encounters before this one.

Finally, privacy. If  the male in question does indeed turn out to be HIV-Positive it should be a private matter. Yes, he has been convicted of rape and yes it’s a truly awful act – but having your HIV status unceremoniously declared across the press isn’t something anyone should have to deal with.

4 COMMENTS

  1. There are I think in addition the more fundamental questions of:
    – why was this revealed in open court?
    – did the woman give informed consent for this to be revealed? (She may have agreed without realising that things said in court would be reported by national papers).

    • Agreed, luckily as with many rape cases the victim’s identity has been kept anonymous – thankfully.

  2. The identity of the women has not been disclosed in the media, but anyone who know’s her (or him) will now probably be aware of her status. Especially considering the fact that she is a resident of Leigh, a smallish town outside Manchester. Exactly the type of place where information is likely to travel fast.

    I don’t see why this needs to be disclosed in court, or to the media. It isn’t relevant to the case as far as I can see. It’s been used as a sensationalist story to add some meat to the bones.

  3. If he was convicted in July I presume sentencing was the recent disclosure in court. Cynically, his lawyer could be using his ‘suffering’ to secure a lesser sentence! Luckily the judge didn’t fall for it but the media certainly did (as usual!).

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