Student accused of spreading HIV

Emory Wheel- September 6, 2005

November 2004, former Emory medical student, Gary Wayne Carriker was arrested on three felonies including civil litigation suits. He did not rob a bank, commit arson, nor committed homicide. He was arrested because he failed to communicate and inform his sexual partners that he was HIV positive.

Carriker attended Emory’s School of Medicine from 2000 to 2004 and he appeared to be [1]“someone you can trust.” Fulton County arrested Carriker in 2004 based on the Georgia Law that states that all HIV-positive individuals must informs sexual partners of their medical condition.

This article from the Emory Wheel not only caught my attention by its headline, but because Carriker was an intelligent individual, an EMORY individual whom should have know the severity of his condition and should have acted in a more responsible manner. Shouldn’t an Emory student be even more responsible and trustworthy because he/she attends one of the best schools in the country? Should he be charged on harsher grounds? What does his case say about Emory students overall? Did Emory lose some of its prestige with this trial? Also, if we assume that he was going to Medical student to be a doctor, does his trial have negative effects on other professionals in the field? Can we trust them as well?

Whether Carrikers acts may be morally right or wrong he obviously did not feel the need to communicate this to his sexual partners beforehand. The question is why? Explaining this article to a male friend, I asked him whether he would act similarly to Carriker. Surprisingly enough he told me, “Yes, I wouldn’t feel the need to communicate my medical condition to sexual partners if they were just one night stands because I probably wouldn’t ever see them again.” Did Carriker have similar views to this and thus the reason why he kept his silence? If this is true then why even tell them at all?

Do heterosexual males deserve to be punished in this way? As Reverend Falwell says [2]“AIDS is a lethal judgment of God on the sin of homosexuality and it is also the judgment of God on the Americans for endorsing this vulgar, perverted, and reprobate lifestyle. He is bringing judgment against this wicked practice through AIDS (Allen, 123).”

Whatever the case may be, we can see that AIDS is not only spread by those who are uninformed and uneducated. Silence is the first step in prevention however, only when it is communicated before committing the sexual act.

[1] Rao, Erika. “Student accused of spreading HIV.” Emory Wheel. Emory Wheel, 6 Sep. 2005. Print. 9 Nov. 2012.

[2] Allen, Peter Lewis. The Wages of Sin: Sex and Disease, Past and Present. Chapter 6: “Aids in the USA” 119-123. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2000.

4 thoughts on “Student accused of spreading HIV

  1. This article pokes at my deepest fear, catching a serious STD from someone I trust/love. All people, men or women, gay or straight, should have to go to jail if they did what this man did. I feel bad for those with HIV, I would never want that to happen to myself or someone I cared for. But that is the point, I do not want this disease, nor do I wish it on my loved ones. I hope none of us reading this will ever get HIV, God willing, but if one of us did it is our duty to live with it. obviously it is hard to admit to anyone you care about that you have HIV, let alone someone your having sex with. But imagine how mad Carriker was when he found out he had HIV, how could he pass on that anger to someone else. It is unthinkable. At first I felt really bad that it showed his face and name, but after thinkkng about it im glad they did. You can not just go around having sex with people and not inform them you have AIDS.

    it defiantly makes doctors and medical students seem less trust-able. Im sure he was just scared and didnt know what to do, but that is not a good enough excuse for me. Id give him a very long jail term, and hopefully he tells everyone in Jail he has HIV.

  2. tazam: I guess the first thing I thought when I read this was “is it legal to disclose someone’s HIV status in a news article? Also I am wondering about the law that was used to detain this man. Were you able to find anything more recent on this case? Did he appeal? Is he still in jail? I wonder if a law like that could be used against someone who spreads HPV (read: genital warts) which often, when untreated, can lead to cervical cancer in women, which, could lead to death. Regardless, this article is an interesting find. Nice job.

    • I did find that he was sentenced to 10 years- with 2 years in prison and the rest in probation. Interestingly, I also found that he was charged twice in a short amount of time and there are those to agree that he didn’t learn from his mistake. This happened in 2004 so, I think he almost in the clear of probation. He pleaded guilty both times. It would be prudent to have laws similar to this that can apply to all STDs; that way, hopefully, we can see a decrease in contraction of all sexually transmitted diseases.

  3. I think this law makes sense. You lose some of your rights when your actions can potentially be detrimental to others. I am assuming you would be obligated to inform partners even when contraceptive measures are used. What about the situation where a person contracts HIV but is unsure of when or from who. Would that person be obligated to tell other previous sexual partners under law? It seems like there are many complex situations that this law would have to cover.

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