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HIV+ man detained for reckless transmission

Amy Bourke April 10, 2007

As many as twelve Australians may have been infected with HIV, after an HIV positive gay man used the internet to have unprotected sex.

Stuart McDonald was detained in Glenside Hospital last week for recklessly endangering his sexual partners.

McDonald found his sexual partners through Gaydar, the gay meeting website. His profile has now been removed.

Adelaide Magistrates Court was told that, “he was indicating a reckless, if not callous, disregard for members of the community, in particular sexual partners”.

He was also dismissive about potentially infecting other men, saying “that’s their problem.”

The South Australian state government was accused of incompetence when Health Minister John Hill revealed that he would have gone to the police earlier, had he been told of the danger posed by Stuart McDonald.

Although experts in the Health Department first dealt with McDonald two years ago, Mr Hill was not informed of the danger he posed until March 16th.

The minister said that he was advised not to tell the public three weeks ago in case McDonald disappeared.

He told a media conference: “I think the public has a right to be protected from somebody who’s recklessly endangering lives by spreading HIV/AIDS and so as soon as I heard, we took action.

“I don’t know when his behaviour accelerated to the state where there were concerns. That’s what we need to establish.”

He also cautioned that Stuart McDonald may not have personally infected all twelve men, but that he may have infected one who went on to infect the others.

Adelaide barrister Stephen Walsh QC will conduct an independent review of the Health Department’s handling of the case.

Meanwhile, National Association for People Living With AIDS spokesman Paul Kidd told GayNZ.com that the vast majority of people living with HIV were taking every step possible to keep others free from the virus

A hotline has been set up by anybody who has information, or is worried that they may have been infected.

His victims may be eligible for compensation.

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