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Florida man with HIV faces charges for not disclosing status

Florida

Gentry Burns. (Photo: The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office)

DELAND, Fla. (AP) — Authorities in central Florida are charging a man with three felonies, saying he had sex with multiple women without informing them he was HIV positive.

The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office filed the charges Thursday against Gentry Burns, who was in jail on unrelated charges.

Under Florida law, it’s illegal for anyone who knows they have any of several sexually transmitted diseases to have sex with another person without informing them of their status.

About 20 states have similar laws. Health experts and patient advocates say that rather than deterring behavior that could transmit the virus, such laws perpetuate stigma about the disease that can prevent people from getting diagnosed or treated.

Burns’ lawyer from the public defender’s office didn’t respond to an email inquiry.

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