Canada: Gay man on trial for HIV exposure

September 21, 2007

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Crime/2007/09/21/4513751-sun.html

HIV accused claims mental breakdown
By JANE SIMS, SUN MEDIA

September 21, 2007

An HIV-positive man told a judge yesterday he thought he was the Messiah and had “sweated out” his AIDS-related infection during a mental breakdown months before an unprotected sexual encounter.

Ryan Handy, 25, said he didn’t lie to a 52-year-old man when he didn’t disclose his medical status before they had unprotected sex twice.

Instead, he said, he was delusional and believed he’d be able to heal the world.

Handy has pleaded not guilty to aggravated sexual assault in connection with the sexual encounters in January 2005 with a man he met in a gay chat room.

Handy explained in detail his descent into madness under questions from his lawyer, Craig McLean.

He told Superior Court Justice William Jenkins he was first depressed when he was eight and fell into a deep depression at about 16.

He moved to London at the end of Grade 10 from Chatham-Kent but was unable to maintain his schooling.

He eventually moved to Toronto, where he met a boyfriend at a bath house who told him he was infection-free. They moved in together but Handy said he was always suspicious of medications stored in the refrigerator.

The man was a drug addict and Handy became addicted to cocaine, ecstacy and crystal meth.

Six months into the relationship, Handy was tested and was found to be HIV-positive. His boyfriend disclosed he was infected, too.

After a stint in drug rehabilitation, he returned to the boyfriend, but eventually came back to London. He was also diagnosed with a major mental illness.

In 2004, Handy tried to work, but his mental illness and his problems with medications made his life harder.

After a mental breakdown, he began to believe he had sweated out his illness in the hospital and was the messiah.

“I began to believe I could heal the entire world.”

Even after a test showed he was still HIV-positive, he didn’t believe it.

When he met the man in the chat room, Handy had isolated himself for a month. They met the same day they talked on the computer and had sex.

They never talked about their HIV status, Handy said.

He saw a medical form for blood work in the man’s apartment and thought it meant he had the virus.

Handy thought he could heal him but never told him.

The man told him he was HIV-negative and Handy said he hadn’t been tested for a while.

They had sex again.

On his walk home, Handy said he “freaked” after he believed he saw blood on his hands. He realized he wasn’t the messiah, but “a predator.”

The trial continues today.