Faking HIV? AIDS campaigner arrested on fraud charges

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Cassey Weierbach, a 27 year old lesbian from Pennsylvania has been touring the US, speaking in youth groups, churches and medical conferences about her tragic childhood rape and infection with the HIV virus.

She has even made television appearances, talking about her heartbreaking experiences and encouraging people to have compassion and tolerance for those struck down with the infection.

But Ms Weierbach will have to put her lecture tour on hold while serious allegations that she may not in fact have HIV are investigated.

The prosecution claims that Ms Weirebach has claimed $66,000 in medical benefits from the State, using false medical records and faked lab results. She is accused of theft by deception, forgery, tampering with records and making false statements.

It is alleged that Ms Weierbach provided false information to her doctor, Cindy Barter, who had begun to question the diagnosis. She became suspicious when Ms Weierbach refused to take AIDS medications. Dr Barter claims to have obtained records from Lehigh Valley Hospital, which show that her patient had in fact tested negative for the condition.

Dr Barter has not been the only physician to have found Ms Weierbach’s case a tricky one to diagnose and treat correctly and appropriately. In February 2005, Ms Weierbach was dismissed as a patient by Dr. Susan Sefcik of St. Luke’s Medical Clinic for misrepresenting her illness. Two months later, Ms Weierbach signed up with another doctor, Terry Pundiak, and supplied altered medical records, according to an affidavit.

Whilst speaking on a lecture tour with the San Francisco non-profit group Hope’s Voice, an HIV educational group, the executive director also became suspicious about Ms Weierbach’s illness. When she failed to show him a medical emergency plan with instructions on what to do and whom to call, her time on the speaker circuit was cut short.

The Allentown paper, The Morning Call reports that one night after her lecture, Ms Weierbach stood up out of her wheelchair and danced in a bar after drinking some shots.

In August 2005, Weierbach allegedly admitted herself to Sacred Heart Hospital, where an examination showed that she does not suffer from AIDS or ”any other functional limitations,” the prosecution claim. And in March 2006, she presented herself as having AIDS to Sacred Heart Primary Care.

Ms Weierbach said that her life was being made “a living hell”, and she wondered; “do you hate me so much … because I am gay”?

Weierbach was arraigned Friday and was released on $25,000 bail.