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'Predator' complainants "brave," case "rare"

Thu 28 May 2009 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

6.15PM: As the NZ gay community begins to respond to the just announced arrest of a 40 year old man charged with infecting three younger men with HIV and attempting to infect a fourth, the alleged victims who have come forward are being hailed as brave, and the predator's alleged actions are being described as "an uncommon occurrence" which should not reflect negatively on other people with HIV. Michael Stevens, the HIV researcher who was one of the first people to sound the alarm about the possibility of an HIV predator preying on young gay men, says he is pleased that the investigation appears to have borne fruit, "and with the way that the police have dealt with it." He says he looks forward "with interest" to seeing how the trial proceeds and believes the four young men who have so far come forward to lay formal complaints with the police are "incredibly brave." He hopes they don't suffer through the process. The NZ AIDS Foundation's Director of HIV Prevention and Communications, Simon Harger-Forde, notes that the arrested man faces very serious charges but he says the public should try to understand that the man's alleged predations are not a common occurrence. "This is very rare and unusual," he says. "People with HIV are very responsible about their health and the health of their partners." Harger-Forde's comments are echoed by the spokesperson for the nation's largest HIV peer support organisation, Body Positive Auckland. Bruce Kilmister says Body Positive is pleased the investigation has come to a head, "as all of the HIV community will have regarded this situation with concern and feel that their reputations as safe, responsible people will have been tarnished by this alleged rogue offender." The arrested man will appear in the Auckland District Court tomorrow. He has not yet been named and police will be opposing bail. Police are continuing to investigate the case and are still urging anyone who may have had sexual contact with the man, or who have knowledge of his sexual habits, to contact Detective Sergeant Andy King on (09) 302 6611.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Thursday, 28th May 2009 - 6:10pm

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