Man jailed for failing to disclose HIV status to partners

Local police believe that there may be additional victims in other states as Gentry Burns travelled ‘extensively’ along the East Coast of the US

Celine Wadhera
Saturday 24 July 2021 08:40

A man who failed to disclose his HIV status to multiple women with whom he had relationships has been jailed for two years.

Gentry Burns, of Port Orange, Florida, was sentenced on Thursday to one count of uninformed HIV-infected sexual intercourse. Local media WESH said that two other counts of the same felony charge had been dropped.

Burns pleaded no contest to the charge, and was also sentenced to 12 months of probation upon his release.

Local authorities launched an investigation into Burns’s activity in October, 2019, after an ex-girlfriend told authorities that she believed she contracted HIV from him when the pair dated in 2013.

A statement from the Volusia Sheriff’s Office said: “The victim had been reaching out to contact other women who were dating Burns in an attempt to warn them.

“She also provided detectives with the names of other women she believed Burns could have infected.”

Through subpoenaed medical records, detectives determined that Burns was diagnosed as HIV-positive in January 2014.

They also identified three victims who cooperated with the investigation, confirming they dated Burns and engaged in sexual activity without knowing that he was HIV-positive. One of the three tested positive for the virus in 2017 after dating Burns in 2016.

The statement added: “It’s believed that Gentry Burns travelled extensively along the East Coast of the United States and may have had contact with additional victims in other states.”

Detectives requested that anyone who believed that they could have been unknowingly infected by Burns contact the Volusia Sheriff’s Office.

Wile already in custody at the Volusia County Branch Jail on unrelated charges, the 27-year-old was charged with three felony counts for the offence.

Florida is among the 21 US states where people, who are aware of an HIV-positive status, are required by law to disclose their status to any sexual partners. Potential penalties for failing to do so range from less than one year’s imprisonment to life behind bars. In Florida, the maximum sentence for the offence is a five-year jail term.