A landscape architect from Central California has been charged in San Diego with willfully infecting others with HIV.
Thomas Guerra (who also goes by Ashton Chavez) is HIV positive. California state law requires him to inform all potential sexual partners of his infected status. He’s being accused of having deliberately hidden the truth from a man with whom he had a long-term relationship.
Claiming to be only hours from proposing marriage, the victim was contacted by one of Guerra’s ex-lovers on Facebook who warned him of the 29-year-old’s HIV infection. Previously, the accused told his boyfriend that he wasn’t infected as a prelude to unprotected sex.
The informed victim began looking for evidence of this on Guerra’s cellphone and came up with plenty. There were text messages and videos from other partners which show that Guerra is HIV positive and was willfully spreading the virus.
In those messages, it seems that Guerra joked to others about his HIV status, about how he kept it a secret.
Then, the victim turned up positive for HIV when he submitted himself for testing. He went to the authorities with his complaint.
In an interview with ABC10 News of San Diego, the alleged victim (who remains unnamed for legal reasons) spoke of warning others about Thomas. He claims that he has evidence showing how Guerra willfully infected at least two dozen other men, some of them underage.
The court in San Diego is expected today to look at a 95-page document outlining the evidence.
The young man who stands as Guerra’s accuser spoke candidly with his interviewer, Jennifer Jensen:
“I honestly feel like I am living some crazy Lifetime movie.
I was hours away from proposing to this individual. This is someone that I loved, I’ve loved his family, I’ve spent multiple holidays with his family, he’s been home with me to my family. This is someone that I intended to spend the rest of my life with.
I don’t even know who I was living with. I don’t know who I had fallen in love with. There are many people who are being hurt and could potentially still be hurt. It needs to stop.
There’s hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, of text messages where he’s talking about intentionally infecting people with HIV. Texts where he’s stating he’s negative to people then bragging to others about giving people his ‘positive load.’ It’s crude, it’s…I don’t know how someone could treat another individual like that.
His weapon is using his body to infect these people. Why? I don’t know why he’s doing this. He’s forever changing these people’s lives and these people have no clue what’s happening to them.”
The original accuser, however, is another man who dated Guerra. He has also supplied the San Diego police with text messages that could prompt the City Attorney’s Office to upgrade the charges to a felony.
Authorities say that there could be dozens and possibly hundreds of other victims who haven’t come forward because they’re unaware of their infection status, they haven’t identified Thomas Guerra as the responsible party, or even because they fear public exposure of their sexual behaviors.
With bio-medical leaps being made in the fight against AIDS, contracting HIV is not necessarily a death sentence anymore, but it does change the life of everyone who is infected. It changes the lives of their friends and family. The infection wears down the body’s immune system and makes it vulnerable to other diseases. As of yet, there is no cure.
It can take years for symptoms of the infection to become noticeable, so an infected individual may unknowingly pass the virus to their sexual partners through unprotected intercourse. It is each individual’s responsibility to protect themselves from possible infection. But how do you protect yourself from someone who hides their HIV positive status?
There’s no word on whether Thomas Guerra is being treated for his infection.
In early July, the Inquisitr reported on a prostitute with AIDS who was charged with willfully spreading HIV. After being busted for soliciting, she admitted to knowing she was HIV positive.
The charge of willfully exposing another to HIV is a misdemeanor which carries, as penalty, a maximum of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, if the charges are upgraded to a felony offense, Guerra could face eight years in prison. All attempts by the media to reach Thomas for comment have failed.
Eight years seems like a short sentence for someone who willfully set out to infect others with HIV.
Here, you can see the video of that interview with ABC 10 News.
[Image Courtesy of Queerty.com]