By: Jamiese Price 08/31/2014 09:21 PM
Thomas Guerra, 29, is being investigated by the San Diego City Attorney's office. He is accused of spreading HIV to others on purpose.
Over the years cases like this have popped up across the country, even here in Western New York.
In the late 90's Nushawn Williams was found guilty of rape and reckless endangerment for knowingly infecting women with the virus.
Dr. Roberto Corales, Senior Director of HIV Medicine at Trillium Health in Rochester, said incidents like these could rattle a community. "There can be a lot of anger. There can be more opposition against people who are living with HIV. They may say, see what's happening they're going to infect the whole world, which is really a wrong way of thinking."
Corales said they offer counseling to newly infected patients as well as others in an effort to prevent the spread of HIV. "In our patient visit we always stress the fact to please reveal your status if you can, depending on how comfortable you are or how serious your relationship is and if you decide not to please always wear a condom.”
There are also public health laws in New York that requires doctors and laboratories to tell the Health Department about new cases of HIV infection and HIV illnesses, along with AIDS cases.
The Health Department or physicians can then notify people who are at risk about where to get counseling, testing, and
treatment if they are infected.
Corales said there are times when a person tests positive for HIV, but never comes back in for the results. "In Rochester there are about 2,500 people who are living with HIV and about 500 of them do not know they're infected and that's whether they didn't test themselves or come back for the results. It's scary. How do you arm our negatives? You can do prep or always wear a condom."
In New York, it's a misdemeanor for a person who knows their infected with HIV to not disclose their status before having sexual intercourse with another person.
People who know that they are infected with STDs that can cause death and who commit sex crimes or have unprotected sex with people who do not know of the infection may also be guilty of reckless endangerment.