Former San Francisco Health Commissioner Pleads Not Guilty to Knowingly Transmitting HIV to Sexual Partners
Former San Francisco Health Commissioner Ron Hill, who is HIV-positive, on Thursday pleaded not guilty to charges that he deliberately exposed two people to HIV, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports (Org, AP/Contra Costa Times, 9/26). Hill on Sept. 17 was arrested following a Sept. 12 San Francisco grand jury indictment alleging that he had engaged in a pattern of soliciting sex with men and telling them he was not HIV-positive. Thomas Lister, one of Hill's former partners, testified before the grand jury, saying that Hill knew he had HIV and repeatedly lied about his condition. Lister eventually discovered Hill's HIV status in a medical document after the two had engaged in unprotected sex during their five-month relationship. Lister tested HIV-positive in October 2002 and confronted Hill about his infection, but Hill continued to deny that he was HIV-positive. San Francisco Superior Court Commissioner Loretta Norris in March 2002 in a civil case ordered Hill to pay Lister $5 million in damages for knowingly exposing him to HIV and lying about his HIV status (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 9/22). The recent indictment charges Hill under a "rarely invoked" 1998 California law that makes exposing a sexual partner to HIV with the "specific intent" of transmitting the disease a felony punishable by up to eight years in prison, according to the AP/Contra Costa Times (AP/Contra Costa Times, 9/26).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.