HIV positive Oz circus acrobat may have had 'hundreds of partners'

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Melbourne, May 26 (ANI): An Australian circus acrobat, who is HIV positive and who has been accused of knowingly spreading the disease, may have had hundreds of sexual partners.

The case has sparked a national health alert, with authorities urging anyone who had unprotected sex with 32-year-old Godfrey Zaburoni to contact them and undergo an HIV test.

Gold Coast police said the Zimbabwean-born Australian citizen, who has admitted to being HIV positive since 1997, may have had hundreds of sexual partners.

"There could well be many others," quoted Detective Superintendent Dave Hutchinson, who urged anyone with concerns to get tested, as saying.

Asked if there could be hundreds of victims, Det Supt Hutchinson replied: "True."

"We're well aware of the fact that Mr Zaburoni has probably had unprotected sex with other people, we would like to identify those people.

"He has had a number of relationships since he's been in Australia.

"From our investigations it's only females ... some of the women identified have been very short-term relationships.

"The health and welfare issues are the greatest consideration. We would want to speak to those ladies," he said.

Det Supt Hutchinson said Zaburoni could face life in prison if he was convicted.

Queensland Health said Zaburoni had provided the names of 12 women with whom he'd had unprotected sex in Queensland, NSW and Victoria.

But it warned there may be other cases, including elsewhere in Australia.

Queensland police have set up a task force to track down at-risk women.

To date, Zaburoni is facing only two charges, both relating to the infection of a Gold Coast woman.

He faced Southport Magistrates Court on May 26 on one charge of causing grievous bodily harm and one charge of intending to cause grievous bodily harm. He has been remanded in custody until June 9.

Queensland's chief health officer Dr Jeannette Young said Zaburoni had spent a lot of time in Queensland since 2000, particularly the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

She said authorities were alerted to the case last year, when a woman came forward and had been forced to make a public appeal.

"Unfortunately we've not been able to get enough details about the women he's had sex with to go to those women directly," Dr Young explained.

"He's given us 12 names, we're starting with that. It's really about letting women know if they have had unprotected sex with him, they really should go and get tested," she stated. (ANI)

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