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Man with HIV Accused of Putting 170 People at Risk in Washington State

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SEATTLE, Washington, May 6 (AFP) - A man diagnosed with HIV in this northwestern state has been accused of putting 170 people at risk of contracting the virus that causes AIDS, local health officials said Thursday.

Anthony Whitfield, an Oklahoma native, was charged with 12 counts of first-degree assault with sexual motivation, said Sherri McDonald, director of Thurston County's Public Health and Social Services.

Whitfield also faces five counts of witness tampering and 10 counts of violating a no-contact order from the public health office barring sexual contact with anyone without protection or without informing partners of his condition, McDonald said.

If convicted of all the assault charges, he could face at least 100 years in prison, she said.

Most of the 170 people who were at risk of getting HIV tested negative for the virus, McDonald said. The people at risk included 40 people who had sex with Whitfield and another 130 who had sex with his previous sexual partners, she said.

But 45 people refused to be tested or could not be found, she added.

Since Whitfield was arrested in late March, 53 of the county health department's 125 employees assisted in the investigation.



COPYRIGHT 2004 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.


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