Former San Francisco Health Commissioner Indicted on Two Counts of Knowingly Transmitting HIV to Sexual Partners
September 22, 2003
Former San Francisco Health Commissioner Ron Hill, who is HIV-positive, was jailed on Wednesday after being indicted under a California law that makes it a crime to intentionally infect a sexual partner with HIV, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Hill was arrested after a San Francisco grand jury on Sept. 12 handed down an indictment alleging Hill had engaged in a pattern of soliciting sex with men and telling them he was not HIV-positive. At least two HIV-positive men testified before the grand jury claiming that Hill had repeatedly told them he was not HIV-positive during their relationships. The grand jury also heard testimony that Hill had solicited sex partners over the Internet, according to the Chronicle (Van Derbeken, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/18). Assistant District Attorney Greg Barge said that the indictment had two counts, one for each of the men who testified, according to the AP/Oakland Tribune. Hill was being held at the Grass Valley jail on Thursday for $100,000 bond, a jail spokesperson said, the AP/Tribune reports (Curtis, AP/Oakland Tribune, 9/19). If convicted, Hill could face as many as 10 years in prison, according to the Los Angeles Times. Officials said that an arraignment could be held on Monday (Glionna, Los Angeles Times, 9/19).
A "Growing Trend"?
The San Francisco Chronicle on Sunday examined the "growing trend" of holding HIV-positive people liable for the health of their consensual sex partners. "[T]he fact of the matter is that people living with the virus have a responsibility to their fellow citizens and their sex partners to make sure they both inform their partners of their HIV status as well as to take the necessary precautions," James Loyce, director of the San Francisco Public Health Department's AIDS Office, said. However, some AIDS advocates say that such laws could hurt HIV prevention efforts. "One of the things we're concerned about is that criminalizing AIDS transmission makes it even more stigmatized and puts it more underground," University of California-San Francisco researcher Dr. Daniel Ciccarone said (Russel, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/21).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.