A Florida man who had sex with multiple women without telling them he was HIV-positive has been sentenced to two years in prison.
At least two of the women were diagnosed with HIV after dating the man.
Gentry Burns, 27, of Port Orange pleaded no contest Thursday to one count of uninformed HIV-infected sexual intercourse. Two other counts of the same felony charge were dropped, WESH reported.
Burns, who was arrested after an ex-girlfriend contacted authorities, was also sentenced to 12 months of probation upon his release, the station reported.
An investigation into Burns started in October 2019 when his ex told authorities she believed she got HIV from him while the pair dated in 2013, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
“The victim had been reaching out to contact other women who were dating Burns in an attempt to warn them,” investigators said at the time. “She also provided detectives with the names of the other women she believed Burns could have infected.”
Detectives later learned that Burns — who was diagnosed with the virus in January 2014 — had sex with three women without telling them his status. One was later diagnosed with HIV in 2017 after dating Burns a year earlier, authorities said.
“It’s believed that Gentry Burns traveled extensively along the East Coast of the United States and may have had contact with additional victims in other states,” sheriff officials said while announcing the accusations against Burns, who was already jailed on unrelated charges.
Twenty-one states, including Florida, have laws requiring people with HIV who are aware of their status to tell their sex partners — with potential penalties ranging up to life in prison, the CDC said.
An estimated 33 million people have died worldwide from AIDS-related illnesses since the first reported cases of HIV in 1981, according to the agency.
Approximately 1.2 million people in the US have HIV, with about 13 percent of them unaware of their status.
Annual infections nationwide have dropped by more than two-thirds since the height of the pandemic in the mid-1980s.
An estimated 34,800 new HIV infections occurred throughout the US in 2019, the most recent year in which statistics are available, according to HIV.gov.
“CDC estimates of annual HIV infections in the United States show hopeful signs of progress in recent years,” the Web site reads. “CDC estimates show new HIV infections declined 8% from 37,800 in 2015 to 34,800 in 2019, after a period of general stability.”
“HIV continues to have a disproportionate impact on certain populations, particularly racial and ethnic minorities and gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men,” according to HIV.gov, a site run by the US Department of Health and Human Services.