Police probe teenager’s HIV case

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Police probe teenager’s HIV case

The Yongin Dongbu Police Precinct is investigating a prostitution case involving a 15-year-old girl who tested positive last May for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Police believe the former student contracted the virus while engaging in “compensated dating” with about ten men in their 30s and 40s for three months, using a messaging app. The girl reportedly received around 150,000 to 200,000 won ($132 to $176) per encounter.

But the app’s users can remain anonymous. It has a foreign server and motel CCTV footage from a year ago has already been deleted, as have the student’s call records to the men involved.

The teenager’s guardian called police and accused a 20-year-old man in their neighborhood of pressuring the teen and arranging the meetings through the app. Police charged the man for violating the law on protecting children and juveniles from sexual abuse, and handed him over to prosecutors last month.

Under the current measure for preventing the spread of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDs), which refers to the symptoms that develop as a result of late-stage HIV infection, those who pass HIV to another person can be sentenced to up to three years in prison.

According to the Korea Federation for HIV/AIDs Prevention, last year there were 1,199 newly infected residents, including 137 foreigners and 36 teenage girls. There are a total of 11,439 people with HIV/AIDS in the country, 93 percent of whom are men.

BY KIM MIN-WOOK [enational@joongang.co.kr]

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