A Kenyan woman prepares ribbons ahead of December 1st, the World Aids Day at Beacon of Hope centre in Nairobi. Reuters/Antony Njuguna

A former wrestling champ was found guilty for the reckless transmission of HIV. Michael Johnson, a former wrestling start from Missouri is facing multiple charges after soliciting unprotected sex from men using hook-up apps despite carrying the virus.

Also known as “Tiger Mandingo”, Johnson was charged with one count of recklessly transmitting HIV to a partner, one count of attempting to infect a partner, and three counts of recklessly imposing partners to the virus, according to a Buzzfeed report.

Dylan King Lemons, Johnson’s partner, was concerned of his own condition, as he is also HIV-positive. Lemons found Johnson through hook-up apps for gay men but didn’t know about his condition.

According to Johnson’s testimony, he informed all of his sexual partners about his HIV status. However, he was still found guilty and is facing a minimum of 10 years in jail for failing to disclose his health status.

Johnson was guilty for intentionally exposing three men and attempting to expose another one. He was also found not guilty for the transmission of the virus to one man named Charles Pfoutz.

The Missouri state recognises it as an offence if one fails to disclose his or her HIV status to a sexual partner. Many other states have laws making it a crime to keep one’s HIV status a secret from a sexual partner, even if the sex is protected or if there is undetectabl viral load.

Indystar reports that Johnson’s case has attracted the attention of legal reform groups and gay rights activists. These groups argued that Missouri laws and laws from other states prosecute the condition and might discourage those who are at risk for HIV infection from getting medical help.

“If people are so concerned with HIV transmission, then perhaps the Missouri legislature and Governor Nixon should start by repealing this law, and expanding Medicaid to ensure everyone with and at risk for HIV, has access to appropriate services and healthcare,” Kenyon Farrow, from an AIDS research policy organisation--the Treatment Action Group--told Fusion.

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