A Kent County man is in jail after telling police that that he has been sexually active and injecting drugs without disclosing his status.
Police say that David Dean Smith, 51, suggested that he was intentionally trying to spread the virus to as many people as possible, and that hundreds of people may have been exposed to HIV.
Smith allegedly made statements that suggested his activities may have included people from outside of the area, including individuals he met over the Internet. The man is currently being held in the Kent County Jail, charged with one count of “AIDS -sexual penetration with uninformed partner” (failing to disclose HIV status).
The Kent County Health Department is working with both Grand Rapids Police and the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the claims made by the man and tracking down potential victims. The man reportedly alerted one victim by text. A second warrant was filed in court on behalf of another victim Wednesday. Other victims will need to come forward in order for more charges to be leveled against Smith.
Lisa LaPlante, spokesperson for the Kent County Health Department, urges people who may have been exposed to get tested. “While the threat of transmission varies based on the activity, this is still an extremely serious public health concern. Anyone who is concerned should immediately have his or her HIV status tested,” she said. The KCHD provides quick, safe, anonymous and confidential testing. Call their Personal Health Services Clinic at 616.632.7171 for more information.