reports on the arrest of Robert Smith.

An HIV-positive man in St. Louis County has been charged with attempting to expose another person to the virus, The Associated Press reports.

The police claim that Robert Smith of St. Ann used Craigslist and social media “to contact potential victims,” in the words of the AP. “Police say that on Monday, Smith met with an undercover detective and sought to have sex, denying that he was HIV-positive. Police say there are no known victims, but they urge anyone with concerns to come forward.”
Media reports have been short on further details, such as how the police knew Smith had HIV in the first place and why they were targeting him on social media.

This arrest comes at the heels of the widely publicized and criticized trial and sentencing of former college wrestler Michael Johnson, also in Missouri. Johnson was sentenced to 30 years in prison for infecting one sex partner with HIV and putting four others at risk.

Writing for the HIV Justice Network, Edwin Bernard notes that Smith “is now charged with attempted (sexual) HIV exposure, which is, in fact, not actually a crime in Missouri. It is only a crime to attempt to donate blood, organs or sperm knowing you are HIV-positive. Otherwise you have to have acted in a reckless manner and engaged in sex without disclosure.”

Bernard sums up by saying, “Surely what this man is alleged to have done is not a crime. This is clearly entrapment. Which is a crime in Missouri.”