US: New York man who lied about HIV won’t face felony charge

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A New York court has ruled that a man who knowingly exposed his partner to HIV should not face a felony charge.

The Court of Appeals was hearing the case of Terrance Williams, an HIV-positive man who convinced his partner that they could safely have unprotected sex.

However, while the court ruled that his actions were “reckless, selfish and reprehensible” by not declaring his HIV status, it noted his actions were not “out of any malevolent desire” to transmit the virus.

As Williams did not show “depraved indifference”, he will not face a felony charge – which could have seen him jailed for a number of years.

Instead, he will face a misdemeanor reckless endangerment charge for the offence.

The majority ruling said: “Without a doubt, defendant’s conduct was reckless, selfish and reprehensible.

“Under our case law, though, this is not enough to make out a prima facie case of depraved indifference.”

Judge Eugene Pigott Jr dissented from the ruling, calling for the man to still face a felony charge.

Williams could still face up to a year in prison under a misdemeanour charge.

Attorney Kristen McDermott argued that the risk of contracting HIV from Williams at the time was low, and the risk of dying from AIDS is “extraordinarily low”.

However, Assistant District Attorney James Maxwell said: “It’s still a potentially deadly disease.

“It’s not always a death sentence, but it can be.”