Missouri man withheld HIV-positive status from hundreds of partners due to ‘fear of rejection’

12hivman.siA Missouri man possibly exposed hundreds of sexual partners to the HIV virus because he feared that he would be rejected if he told them he was infected, police said.

David Lee Mangum from Dexter, a small town in southeastern Missouri, was arrested last week on suspicion of reckless exposure to HIV after authorities received a tip from a man who claimed he was a sexual partner of Magnum’s and had recently tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS.

According to the statement, the partner, identified as D.B. in court documents, first met Mangum in October 2012 via a Craigslist ad. D.B., 28, told authorities that he asked Mangum if he had any diseases before they had sex. Mangum, 37, denied that he did.

They lived together for a short time and had unprotected sex – sometimes involving other men – before the relationship dissolved in June. A former acquaintance of Mangum’s called D.B. to tell him that Mangum was HIV positive since 2003, when he was diagnosed in Texas. D.B. then tested positive in July, according to the probable-cause statement.

Upon arrest, Mangum told police that he’s had over 300 sexual partners since 2003. Fifty to 60 of those partners lived Stoddard County, Mo., an area of around 30,000 people.

“Mangum admitted he never disclosed he had HIV to any of his sexual partners in Stoddard County,” Dexter Police Det. Cory Mills wrote in the statement.

“I inquired why Mangum did not disclose he was HIV positive to his sexual partners and he replied, ‘Fear of rejection,'” Mills continued.

Mangum is being held on a $250,000 cash bond, according to official records. Under Missouri law, knowingly exposing a person to HIV without consent is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. A person can be sentenced to life in prison for knowingly infecting someone with the virus.