SEATTLE (AP) – Health officials in Seattle secured a court order telling a man who has infected at least eight people with HIV to stop spreading the virus that causes AIDS.
The King County Superior Court order issued September 4 orders the man to follow a health department cease and desist order and to show up for counseling and treatment appointments, The Seattle Times reported.
The name of the man was not released to protect his privacy.
He was diagnosed with HIV in 2008 and has spread the disease through unprotected sex, Public Health Seattle & King County said.
If he fails to follow the order he could be jailed for contempt of court.
“We’re not trying to criminalise sexual behavior here,” said Dr Matthew Golden, director of the department’s HIV/STD control programme. “We are trying to protect the public’s health. And we’re trying to make sure that everyone gets the care they need, including the person involved in this.”
The man has been told to disclose his status to sex partners and advised on how to practice safe sex, according to court papers.
Despite the counseling, eight people diagnosed with HIV from 2010 through June named him as a sex partner.
Health officials said the man ignored the department’s cease-and-desist order and failed to show up for medical appointments. The agency filed for court enforcement of its order, saying his conduct continued to endanger public health.
The public-health agency has sought legal enforcement of its cease and desist orders only once before, in 1993, in the case of a sex worker who eventually left the jurisdiction.