Local doctor reacts to HIV case in southeast MO

David Mangum (Source: Stoddard County Prosecutor's Office)
David Mangum (Source: Stoddard County Prosecutor's Office)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Police arrested a Bloomfield, Mo. man on Aug. 26 after his former partner tested positive for HIV.

Now, more individuals have reached out to police since 37-year-old David Mangum's arrest.

Mangum admitted in a police interview he had more than 300 partners since he tested positive for HIV in 2003.

"This is a public health nightmare," Dr. Shane Speights with St. Bernards Medical Center said.

Many times, these victims will have to wait months or even years to know the answer to the question: positive or negative.

"Basically, a period where it can't be picked up in the bloodstream. So all of these individuals that have had contact with this man are gonna need to be tested and maybe even tested again," Speights said.

Individuals can transmit HIV through intimate relationships and contact with blood.

"Testing is fairly easy. You can go to your local healthcare provider or department of health agent to get testing done there. It's a simple blood test. It can take a few days to get back," Speights said.

Dr. Speights said individuals can also opt to purchase home HIV kits.

"There are some kits that can be obtained at your local pharmacy or online. About one in 12 will be false negative, which means you really have it and the test said you didn't. You wanna be careful of that," Speights said.

Speights said sexually active individuals are not the only ones who should get tested.

"It is now recommended that all individuals between 15 and 65 get HIV testing at least once as far as routine health screening," Speights said.

Speights also assured the tests are highly confidential.

"Those things are not easily accessible. That's not something that usually an attorney can even get a hold of without going through a lot of hoops and a lot of red tape," Speights said.

If an individual's test does come back positive, Speights said there are now more options to help.

"HIV is a lot more treatable now than it was ten or 20 years ago. The types of combination therapy and the medications that are available. It's not a true death sentence any more," Speights said.

Speights said you can technically have HIV for the rest of your life, but keep it from developing into AIDS with the correct treatment.

It is a class A felony in Arkansas if an individual with HIV knowingly infects others. According to the Center of HIV Law and Policy, the last arrest for this in the state was in July 2009.

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