Last week, a Canada-wide arrest warrant was issued for a 26-year-old man accused of HIV nondisclosure. Two women, aged 24 and 29, came forward alleging they contracted HIV after having unprotected sex with the man. Winnipeg police released his photo, yet the local public health agency has not issued a public warning.
Last Thursday, the accused man turned himself in to Calgary police. Police say releasing his name and photo was not an extreme measure in Winnipeg.
“We wouldn’t put out the release if we knew where he was. We can release the photo of anyone who is wanted on a warrant. If we’re identifying them by name we can show photos. He can still pose a threat to people he comes in contact with. We want to locate him. When we’re dealing with aggravated assault, we’re dealing with a serious assault. Requesting public assistance through the media is a tool we can use to help locate. We’re doing this like we do in many investigations,” says Winnipeg police spokesperson Const Jason Michalyshen.
Michalyshen says news reports stating the police disclosed the accused’s medical records are false.
“Police have not said [when the accused tested poz]. We have not disclosed his health information. That might be from other sources. Police are not going to disclose any medical information pertaining to the suspect we are seeking,” says Michalyshen.
When asked if the release of his photo may drive people away from getting tested for HIV, Michalyshen says the police released the accused’s photo as “a service to the public.”
“This individual brought harm to two victims,” says Michalyshen.
When asked if the accused is being charged for allegedly not disclosing his health status while having unprotected sex, Michalyshen would not say.
“Right now, we are working with two people involved. As far as I know, there could be more [complainants]. But I can’t comment on the nature of the sexual acts. What I can tell you without getting into the details is the accused did pose a threat of harm to these individuals. I’m not suggesting they had sex. And these individuals are claiming that their well-being has been jeopardized as a result of a relationship with this individual,” says Michalyshen.
Two female complainants spoke with the media last week. Both alleged they contracted HIV after having unprotected sex with the accused.
The accused faces two charges of aggravated assault. The Sudanese immigrant is likely to be tried in Winnipeg.