Posted on November 14, 2008

HIV Illegal Immigrant ‘May Have Infected More Than 400 Women’

Daily Mail (London), November 14, 2008

An illegal immigrant may have infected hundreds of women with HIV in a string of one-night-stands, it has emerged.

The infected Jamaican reveller prowled nightclubs to pick up women and then spent almost a year unchecked in hospital where he looked for sex with vulnerable patients.

Health officials have written to more than 400 women to warn them they might have the deadly virus after having unprotected sex with him.

The immigrant, who arrived in the UK on a visitor’s visa in 2002, has admitted he cannot remember how many woman he has slept with.

He told doctors he had sex, which was often unprotected, with women he met in two nightclubs in Leicester—the now-defunct Dark Club and the Burlington Club.

Last December, he was admitted to the Brandon mental health unit at Leicester General Hospital where he slept with fellow patients—possibly even in the unit.

Doctors were told in May that his visa had expired and he was living in the UK illegally but the HIV danger only became known in the last few weeks.

A married patient confessed to sleeping with him, according to the Sun, and he then told medics about his other sexual liaisons.

A source told the paper: ‘It’s literally panic stations.’

Dr Philip Monk, a consultant for the Health Protection Agency (HPA) East Midlands, said: ‘He doesn’t know (the number of women he had unprotected sex with). He was going clubbing very regularly. He didn’t have a sexual encounter every time he went out, but it didn’t happen infrequently.

‘There is a possibility it could be more than 100. We believe it was more than a handful.’

He added: ‘We are concerned that there is a risk that the HIV positive individual may have passed on the infection as a result of the sexual activity he has engaged in.

‘Understandably, women who have had sexual experiences with someone they met at either of these venues are likely to be extremely concerned, but it’s important that they either visit their local genito-urinary medicine clinic or family planning clinic.

‘There is also treatment that can enable them to live near-normal healthy and full lives.’

The HPA confirmed the man, who moved to Leicester in 2002, was not a bouncer at either of the clubs.

A spokesman for Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, which runs the Brandon unit, said all the women he slept with from there had been contacted.

He said: ‘Although a person may have mental health problems, it doesn’t mean they cannot take clear decisions on other aspects of their lives.

‘There is no suggestion any activity was other than consensual but we are mindful of the potential vulnerability of these women and have taken every step to follow up the letters through teams providing medical help and emotional support.’

The man is now being cared for by the NHS outside of Leicestershire.

If caught early enough, medical treatment can prevent the HIV virus from developing in to full-blown AIDS, offering patients the chance of a largely-normal life.

HIV infects the white blood cells, which normally protect people from disease. AIDS develops when the immune system becomes too weak to continue fighting the infection.

Patients with HIV typically begin to show symptoms of the infection within five to ten years in around half of all cases.

Initial symptoms are often general conditions such as tiredness, or general ill health, but in advanced cases, patients may display ‘AIDS defining’ symptoms such as skin tumours or even AIDS-related dementia.

Two years ago, more than a thousand patients were placed on alert after a hospital worker was diagnosed with HIV and hepatitis B.

In the first incident of its kind, the unnamed employee was diagnosed with both blood-borne viruses while working in the NHS.

1,185 patients who had been treated by the worker at five hospitals across the West Midlands and Hampshire faced blood tests to see if they had contracted either disease.

* Anyone concerned can contact NHS Direct on 0845 603 0897 where staff have been briefed on the case.