Man given hefty sentence for exposing hundreds of partners to HIV
David Lee Mangum admitted to having sex with hundreds of men since receiving his HIV diagnosis.
Mangum, 39, from Missouri, was sentenced to 30 years in prison last week after pleading guilty to two counts of exposing another person to HIV last month.
He was originally arrested in 2013 after a former lover tested positive for the virus and reported Mangum to the police.
Mangum initially admitted to police that he had sex with up to 300 people since testing positive in 2003, often strangers and truckers passing through Missouri he met on the internet.
His reasons for doing so? “I was trying to make my partner jealous,” he said, later confessing he may have over exaggerated when first questioned by authorities.
“I believe 12 is more accurate,” he confessed during the trial.
Mangum received treatment for the virus between 2003 and 2009, stating he could not make doctor’s appointments after he moved to a new town, due to a lack of transportation.
He admitted he “pretty much” chose to stop treatment from then on.
Mangum claims did not tell any of the men he slept with that he had HIV, due to a “fear of rejection.”
The prosecutor recommended a long sentence, saying Mangum was a “high risk” for re-offending when released.
Earlier this month, a former college wrestling champ – also from Missouri – was jailed for 30 years for “recklessly” transmitting HIV, after failing to disclose his status via gay hook-up apps.
Missouri is one of 33 states that have HIV criminalization laws, which a number of AIDS activists have slammed as unfair and outdated.
Kenyon Farrow, of the Treatment Action Group, said: “Throwing people in jail is probably the worst thing you can do if you want to encourage people to feel comfortable enough to get tested for HIV, receive treatment and openly discuss their status.
“If people are so concerned with HIV transmission, then perhaps the Missouri legislature and Governor Nixon should start by repealing this law, and expanding Medicaid to ensure everyone with and at risk for HIV, has access to appropriate services and healthcare.”
Mayo Schreiber, deputy director of the Centre for HIV Law and Policy, said the laws were passed in 1988 when HIV was considered a “death sentence.”‘
“Today, with proper treatment, HIV is a chronic, manageable disease and those with HIV can expect to live a full, healthy life,” he said.
“Yet violation of the Missouri law is a class A felony, with a sentencing range of 10-30 years or life imprisonment.
“Other class A felonies include murder or child abandonment resulting in death.”
In England and Wales, you can be found guilty of reckless HIV transmission for knowingly transmitting HIV – while in Scotland you can also face charges for exposing people to HIV even if transmission did not take place.