Scottish Man Jailed for Five Years for Failing to Disclose HIV Status to Girlfriend
In a "landmark" trial in Glasgow, Scotland, a man last Friday was sentenced to five years in jail for "reckless conduct" for "knowingly infecting" a former girlfriend with HIV, BBC News reports. The verdict was the first conviction of deliberate viral infection in Scotland. Defendant Stephen Kelly argued in the nine-day court case that he had told Anne Craig about his heroin use and HIV status during their relationship, but the jury "rejected his version of events." During sentencing, Judge Lord Mackay said the term should reflect the "gravity of the charge" and "mark the severe consequences" of his actions. Kelly learned of his HIV infection in 1993 when he took part in a screening program while in jail after a hepatitis outbreak caused suspicions that inmates were sharing needles. He revealed his status to Craig in 1994 when she went for a blood test, BBC News reports. AIDS advocates fear that the trial will undo efforts to lift the stigma surrounding HIV. HIV patient Mark Ward said on a Scottish news program, "I think it will set back a lot of the work that has been done over the last 15 years to create a space where people can be open and honest about their HIV status without fear of victimization or retaliation, isolation or marginalization" (BBC News, 3/16).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.