Deborah Gold, Chief Executive of NAT (National AIDS Trust) said: “This is the first time someone has been convicted of intentional HIV transmission in England, and indeed it is the first time such a charge has ever gone to full trial. 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. Such behaviour is utterly exceptional and vanishingly rare.
“To find someone guilty it is important that the charge is proved beyond reasonable doubt. Compelling evidence should always be required to demonstrate such motivation and responsibility for transmission.
“We must remember that an overwhelming majority of HIV transmissions are from people who are unware that they are HIV positive (they have not yet tested and had an HIV diagnosis) and, therefore, unaware that there is a risk they could pass the virus on. Indeed, people who are on effective HIV treatment 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 as and when appropriate discuss honestly with them how to remain as healthy as possible in our sex lives.”