Man jailed for 14 months for giving girlfriend genital herpes

David Gold 29 who works for the Highways Agency has admitted causing grievous bodily harm by giving the sexually transmitted infection (STI) to his then partner, Cara Lee, 23.

But sexual health experts and charities have called the decision to imprison him ‘outrageous’. It is the first time anyone has been convicted for passing on a STI.

Mr Golding had kept his infection a secret from Ms Lee when the couple were together in 2009, and later denied it when confronted by his partner, Northampton crown court heard. After finding out she had been infected with Herpes, Ms Lee moved out and reported him to police in March 2010.

Judge Michael Fowler told Golding, from Daventry: ‘Because it was in a relationship, it was particularly mean and one which amounted to a betrayal – a betrayal in a relationship in which you professed love.

‘The injury you caused by this infection is at least or more serious than an injury leaving a scar because it carries continued recurrence, extreme discomfort and consequences for relationships she will have in the future.’

David Everett, defending, said his client was ‘extremely stupid but he did not do this in a premeditated way.’

Sexual health experts said herpes was not serious enough to amount to grievous bodily harm under the Offences Against the Person Act.

‘Being sent to prison for 14 months for passing on herpes simplex is like being sent down for ten years for a parking offence,’ said Dr Colm O’Mahoney, sexual health consultant at the Countess of Chester Hospital. 

‘This is outrageous. Will children now be prosecuted for “giving” their friends chickenpox? ‘Most people who have genital herpes don’t know it because, even if they do get recurrences, it is such a trivial genital infection that they don’t notice it.’

He said genital herpes has the same implications as a facial cold sore. In Britain, about 6million people have genital herpes and up to 40million may have picked up herpes simplex (a cold sore) on the face.

However if Mr Golding had acted earlier admitted the problem and sought out treatment for his genital herpes such as Valtrex, his jail sentence could have been avoided.

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