Man faces sex assault charges for failing to tell partners he has HIV
A man in Canada is facing sex assault charges for failing to disclose to at least two sexual partners that he is HIV-positive.
27-year-old Ala Al Safi, of Toronto, was arrested and charged with aggravated sexual assault over the allegations.
According to Toronto police, Al Safi was diagnosed with HIV in 2011.
Later the same year he met a 24-year-old man through an online dating site and engaged in an intimate relationship.
Police have since discovered another man, 21, who contracted HIV after an encounter with Al Safi in 2016.
The second victim also met Al Safi through a dating website.
According to police, across both encounters Al Safi failed to disclose his HIV status.
As a result, both victims were diagnosed with HIV.
Al Safi is now facing two charges of Aggravated Sexual Assault, which under Canada’s legal system can be used to prosecute the transmission of HIV.
Canadian law states that people living with HIV have a duty to disclose their HIV status before engaging in sexual behaviours that pose a “realistic possibility” of transmitting HIV to another person.
More than 170 people who allegedly failed to disclose their HIV status have been charged with criminal offences in Canada.
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The laws have been hotly contested by HIV activists, who say there is no evidence that criminalization of HIV non-disclosure acts as a deterrent against participation in behaviours that can transmit HIV.
Police are concerned there may be other victims, and have called for anyone else with information to come forward.
The Toronto Star reports that Al Safi is subject to a court order, requiring him to use condoms and make his condition known to sexual partners.
According to the newspaper, Al Safi was not taking medication to treat his HIV.
Though HIV is not curable, medical treatment can lower the viral load of HIV-positive people to undetectable levels, which makes it incredibly difficult to transmit.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-7474, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), or online at www.222tips.com.