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Nick Rhoades: Imprisoned For Months, Punished For Life, For Failure To Disclose

This link will bring you to one of the saddest stories you'll read this month. It's the story of an Iowan named Nick Rhoades; a person with HIV who has always strictly adhered to his medication regimen. In the summer of 2008, his viral load was so puny as to be undetectable.

RhoadesOne evening in June of that year, Rhoades hooked up with a man named Adam Plendl. He used a condom, but declined to disclose his status until afterwards. When Rhoades did disclose, Plendl panicked. From CNN:

Plendl, 22 at the time, says his life was forever changed ... and that he was severely depressed and suffered panic attacks while waiting to find out if he was infected.

"It was 181 days of pure fear, that six-month window when you don't know," he says.

"Individuals that are HIV positive have a moral and currently legal obligation to inform any of their sexual partners of their positive status. Individuals should have the choice as to whether or not they would engage with someone who is HIV positive when they are not. In this case, that choice -- and what I also consider a right -- was not afforded to me."

Plendl called the police. Three months after the June hookup, Rhoades was arrested, and charged with "criminal transmission of HIV" -- even though medical tests then and later showed that there was no transmission of HIV, and Plendl remains negative. Rhoades's attorney advised him to plead guilty to the charge, which he did. His bail was set at a quarter million dollars, and Rhoades couldn't pay that. He spent nine months in jail, much of it in solitary confinement, before being sentenced to 25 years in prison. That sentence was subsequently commuted to time served, five years of probation, and life on the sex offender registry. Says Rhoades:

My life is forever changed. Do a Google search for my name and some pretty horrific stuff comes up. I have had to change a private medical condition and a private life to public domain.

That's not to say I can't be happy, find employment, have a satisfying life, but it's never going to just go away.

Read all about it here.

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  1. The HIV Community needs to be more respectful of others choices.

    I have a young friend who is being lead around by his cock by an HIV+ twink porn star, and he is too young to understand how stupid he is being.

    I would have called the police too.

    That said, this punishment is insane, and should not put someone on the sex offenders list. And the bail and sentence is equally insane and deserves condemnation.

    Posted by: toyotabedzrock | Aug 15, 2012 8:11:24 PM

  2. Amazing that in 2012 we're still treating people with HIV like lepers and demonizing them with insincere claims that that we want to remain negative. If Plendl had any serious interest in remaining negative HE WOULDN'T BE BOTTOMING FOR STRANGERS HE MEETS ON THE INTERNET!

    This is not the story of a sad victim of "nondisclosure". This is the story of a spoiled brat who has no concept of the risk he has put himself in, and has decided to destroy another human being for almost making him aware of it. Plendl is disgusting and subhuman. That he is unrepentant about what he has done, and confuses his online debauchery with true victims of nondisclosure makes me furious and ashamed.

    Posted by: Andy | Nov 10, 2012 7:03:32 PM

  3. Nick Rhoades is still out, huh? I haven't heard otherwise. His case is going to the Supreme Court! Too bad he's going to lose based on some lame defense about being a poor sick gay man who just CAN'T go to jail. Another Iowan, Tom Call, is free because he used OMSJ, a California investigative agency, to provide expert witnesses against the "HIV test." See Do a search there for Letterhead Project, to see what's possible even if you're not facing charges. You can get your name off the database.

    Posted by: Elizabeth Ely | May 2, 2013 8:11:16 PM

  4. It's simple: since too many people would lie in a situation like this (just read some of the comments above!), the law should be in place to ensure people think twice before deceiving their partner by withholding such important information and thereby depriving them of their choice to decide whether they can take the risk or not.

    Posted by: GOD | Dec 3, 2013 1:48:47 AM

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