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Mills death: Gay/HIV community offering support

Mon 30 Nov 2009 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback View at NDHA

11.02AM: Gay community-based counselling and support are being offered to people close to Glenn Mills following the news that, facing twenty eight charges of deliberately infecting fourteen young people with HIV, he was found dead in his remand jail cell early this morning. Glenn Mills Aucklander Mills, 40, has been remanded since the first of a series of charges were laid in May. Seven of the fourteen complainants subsequently tested positive for HIV. "We are deeply sorry to hear of the death of Glenn Mills," says Body Positive Auckland chief executive Bruce Kilmister. "We realise that people may have mixed feelings about him but we also acknowledge the stigma associated with HIV which he was having to deal with after after his health status was publicly revealed." Body Positive has been supporting a number of young men who believe they contracted HIV from Mills. Kilmister says his team are working quickly to contact everyone they can to put in place professional counselling and peer support. Karen Ritchie of the Cartier Trust says she is making a meeting space and professional psychotherapist available for those who had laid formal complaints and were facing involvement in court hearings. She hopes those who would like to meet as a group to share their experience and support each other can be brought together before Christmas. "These young people were incredibly brave," she says of the young men and women who came forward to assist the police investigation. "Some may be relieved, some may be in shock," she says, acknowledging that some of the eventual complainants have had very intense relationships with Mills. Ritchie can be contacted  on 0274 857 670. Michael Stevens, one of the first gay men to publicly reveal growing concerns that an, at that point unnamed, rogue HIV positive man was willfully having unprotected sex with younger men leading to them contracting HIV says he is stunned by the news. "I feel for the young people, especially those who were brave enough to lay formal complaints, and the fact that this won't now go to trial and they therefore may not get to the truth of the matter, " he says. "It's a shame that this won't all come to its proper conclusion." The NZ AIDS Foundation, which is preparing a formal response to Mills' death, says it sends its condolences to his family and all those close to him or affected by this case.    

Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff

First published: Monday, 30th November 2009 - 11:02am

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