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October 9, 2009

HIV-Positive Sailor Sentenced for Consensual, Unprotected Sex

An HIV-positive U.S. Navy officer was sentenced to three months of confinement for having unprotected, consensual sex with two women who were aware of his status, The Virginian-Pilot reports. According to testimony in a court-martial at Norfolk Naval Station, neither women—one of whom is an ex-wife—contracted the virus.

Petty Officer 1st Class Steven R. Franklin, a 37-year-old aviation electronics technician, was sentenced to three months of confinement and a bad-conduct discharge after pleading guilty to two counts of aggravated assault and disobeying an order. Franklin was also demoted to seaman recruit. Additional charges—including adultery—were dropped as part of a plea request.

After being diagnosed with HIV in 2003, Franklin was ordered both verbally and in writing not to have unprotected sex, and he was required to disclose his status to all sexual partners. While he disclosed his status to both women before having sex, not using a condom was grounds for punishment.

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