Bucks County DA Matt Weintraub announced the arrest of resident Mark Andrew Kernan.
The 57-year-old Kernan was charged with prostitution, possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine and criminal use of a communication facility.
“This is a public health issue. We are not making morality judgments here,” said DA Matt Weintraub said in a press conference [you can watch below]. “If you’ve had sexual contact with this man, seek a medical evaluation immediately.”
Pennsylvania has relatively progressive laws surrounding the criminalization of HIV but it does have some throwbacks that were initiated during the plague years of the 1980s when incredibly draconian and ignorant criminal statutes were implemented to stem the transmission of the virus.
Weintraub warned of possible health risks following the arrest of a Yardley man for prostituting himself while knowing he had HIV. Although it wasn’t as stigma laden as some announcements about HIV by government officials have notoriously been he also made no mention of whether Kerns disclosed his status to his sexual partners and/or clients and made no mention of whether he’s being treated or is undetectable.
Kernan was arraigned Wednesday on felony charges including prostitution, possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine and criminal use of a communication facility.
The local NBC affiliate says that Bucks County police believe “Kernan has used his residence as a house of prostitution since at least December 2017 and previously lived in Philadelphia.”
Kernan told police that he knew he had HIV while making a living as a sex worker, according to an affidavit of probable cause. Investigators also said it was not immediately clear how long he has been living with the virus according to NBC.
Kernan met his clients via a posts on the website doublelist.com where he advertised “erotic male massage” in the Philly area.
Kernan’s jury appearance stems from an incident in January in which a man met with Kernan at his residence in response to one of Kernan’s posts said NBC.
According to the complaint, the man reported that while at Kernan’s home, he was provided with drinks that rendered him highly intoxicated as well as apparent drugs smoked from a pipe.
At the direction of investigators, CBS Philadelphia said, the man continued to communicate with Kernan, who solicited him to return for paid sexual services and methamphetamine for $575.
2017’s HIV Criminalization Sourcebook says Pennsylvania’s laws regarding HIV criminalization, “apply only to prisoners and sex workers. The first is contained in a felony law entitled “Assault by Prisoner” and includes exposing another to one’s bodily fluids when one is living with any communicable disease, including but not limited to HIV and Hepatitis B. The second treats prostitution while HIV-positive as a felony.”