Originally created 11/23/05

Former student guilty in HIV case



ATLANTA - A former Emory University medical student pleaded guilty Tuesday to two more counts of knowingly having unprotected sex without warning the victims he was HIV positive.

Garry Wayne Carriker was sentenced two years in prison and eight more years on probation. The Fulton County sentence will be served concurrently with an identical sentence issued earlier this month by a Fayette County judge for a separate incident.

Mr. Carriker must also serve 500 hours of community service after his release.

The fourth-year medical student and 2001 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy was charged under a little-used Georgia law that makes it a felony for people who know they have HIV to engage in sex without disclosing their status.

A lawsuit filed by John Withrow, of Peachtree City, says Mr. Carriker learned he had HIV in June 2003. The suit says the two men met in an Internet chat room in December of that year but that Mr. Carriker did not tell Mr. Withrow he had the virus until their relationship ended after about four months.

Mr. Withrow contacted police and Mr. Carriker was arrested last year, sending a jolt through Atlanta's gay community.

But after his arrest, prosecutors say, he had unprotected sex with two more men in nearby Fulton County without telling them he had the virus.

"That demonstrates he had not learned a lesson or had become more aware of his responsibility," said Erik Friedly, a spokesman for the district attorney's office.

Mr. Withrow said that although coming forward was difficult, he hopes more people are now aware of the law.

"No one should ever put another person's life or health at risk - no matter what the level of risk may be," he said.

"We're happy that a message was sent to Carriker and anyone else who puts themselves in this situation," said Adam Jaffe, who is representing Mr. Withrow in an ongoing civil case against Mr. Carriker.