A man from Dexter, Missouri has been given 30 years in prison for ‘recklessly’ exposing sex partners to the virus that causes AIDS – a class A felony under the state’s ‘outdated’ HIV criminalization laws.
David Lee Mangum, 39, was sentenced on Tuesday (2 July), the Poplar Bluff Daily American Republic reported, after pleading guilty to two counts of exposing another person to HIV last month.
The prosecutor recommended a long sentence, saying Magnum was a ‘high risk’ for re-offending after release.
Magnum was arrested in August 2013 after a former live-in lover tested positive for the virus and called the police.
Magnum initially told authorities he had sex with up to 300 people since testing positive in 2003, often strangers and truckers passing through Missouri he met through Craigslist ads.
‘I was trying to make my partner jealous… I believe 12 is more accurate,’ he later said in court.
He did not tell any of them that he had HIV out of ‘fear of rejection.’
Magnum received treatment from 2003 to 2009 but said he did not have transportation for doctor’s visits after moving to Dexter.
He admitted he ‘pretty much’ chose to stop treatment.
Missouri is one of 33 states that have HIV criminalization laws, which AIDS activists have slammed as outdated.
Mayo Schreiber, deputy director of the Center 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.’