Local News

Durham man pleads guilty to public-health violation

Posted April 1, 2009 5:55 p.m. EDT
Updated April 1, 2009 7:02 p.m. EDT

— Authorities say Antonio Smith, 38, knowingly had unprotected sex without telling his partners that he had HIV.

Smith, of Durham, pleaded guilty to a public-health violation on Wednesday on charges brought under the North Carolina Administrative Code 10-41 A.02020 (1)(a)(e), which addresses control measures regarding HIV, and North Carolina General Statute 130A-144 (f), which requires all people to comply with measures controlling communicable diseases.

“In 2007, a gentleman reported having engaged in sex with the defendant where the defendant did not disclose the fact that he had a communicable disease nor did he use protection,” Wake County Assistant District Attorney Melanie Shekita said.

Since the act occurred in Wake County, the case was heard there.

“There may be one person that we know of, but the concern is who those persons’ partners are and…those further persons may be infected,” Shekita said.

Smith was in jail for 23 days and will have to pay court costs. If he violates public-health laws again, he could face up to two years in prison.

Prosecutors said Smith was diagnosed in the late 1990s.

In 2005, prosecutors say he knowingly had unprotected sex with multiple partners without telling them he had HIV.

“It’s not about the individual prosecution. It’s about the community protection,” Wake County Human Services Medical Director Peter J. Morris said.

Prosecutors say at least one of Smith's victims contracted the disease from him.

When it comes to sex, Morris said everyone should be cautious.