A man in the U.S. infected with HIV, who knowingly exposed three women to the virus, has been sentenced to almost three years in prison.
A jury has found 30-year-old Robert W. Richardson guilty on four counts of exposing the women to the virus, none of whom have tested positive for HIV.
All the women have insisted that Richardson be held accountable and punished.
Richardson has apologized for his behaviour but maintains that though it was unethical, it was not criminal.
The case is the first in the history of Kansas involving HIV-exposure charges.
Richardson apologized for his behaviour but says sending him to prison will not change anything.
Richardson deceived the women by telling them his health problems were from a heart condition and says he did not lie, and he meant a “HAART” condition short for Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy, the name he used for his HIV-treatment drug regimen.
According to his lawyer Richardson believed the drugs he had been taking to lower the amount of the virus in his blood made it physically impossible for the women to get the virus.
His attorney also claimed the women were not “seriously injured” because all had tested negative for HIV and also said they had engaged in “reckless sex.”
However the prosecutor Amy McGowan said the injury inflicted was not just physical.
The jury were apparently appalled by Richardson’s cavalier behaviour and he has yet to face more charges against him in Missouri and Kansas.
Revision date: July 6, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD