CNN -The nightmare Nick Rhoades has been living the past four years began after a one-time sexual encounter with another Iowa man, Adam Plendl.
It was June 2008. The 34-year-old Rhoades, who is HIV positive, says he was on antiretroviral medications. His viral load -- the amount of virus in his blood -- at the time was undetectable and he says he wore a condom. But Plendl contacted the police because Rhoades did not disclose his HIV status.
What happened next, Rhoades says, changed his life forever.
The former hotel administrator was arrested three months later. The official charge: criminal transmission of HIV -- a class B felony in Iowa, where the encounter occurred. Other crimes in this category include manslaughter, kidnapping, drug crimes and robbery.
"I was in shock, trying to figure out where this was all going," Rhoades says. "My heart was racing a million miles an hour. I'd never been in trouble."
But Plendl, 22 at the time, says his life was forever changed as well, and that he was severely depressed and suffered panic attacks while waiting to find out if he was infected.
"It was 181 days of pure fear, that six-month window when you don't know," he says.
"Individuals that are HIV positive have a moral and currently legal obligation to inform any of their sexual partners of their positive status. Individuals should have the choice as to whether or not they would engage with someone who is HIV positive when they are not. In this case, that choice -- and what I also consider a right -- was not afforded to me."
In many countries, intentionally or recklessly infecting another person with HIV is a crime. In the United States, the Center for HIV Law and Policy says 32 states, including Iowa, and two territories -- Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands -- have such laws on their books.
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August 3, 2012
Imprisoned Over HIV:
- Labels: HIV Crimes
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