Air Force: Sgt. to be charged this week in HIV cases

Charges are expected sometime this week against a sergeant stationed at McConnell Air Force Base who may have knowingly exposed people to HIV at swinger parties in the area, a military spokeswoman says.

Linda Card, chief of public affairs for the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, said she expects charges to be filed in military court.

A profile on an adult website showed that the sergeant attended 21 swinger parties from January 2009 to July of this year, court documents in the case indicate. Sex is common at such parties, often with multiple partners.

Lt. Col. Andree Swanson said the investigation is ongoing, and the sergeant remains in custody at McConnell.

"There's a legal requirement to go to court martial within 120 days after he was placed in confinement," Swanson said Monday. "So it should be wrapped up by Dec. 9 unless defense requests a delay. It's Air Force policy to try to get it done in 90 days."

How many people may have been exposed to HIV at the parties has not been made public.

On Wednesday, Sedgwick County Health Department Director Claudia Blackburn will give commissioners an update on sexually transmitted infections in the county.

Last year, 33 new cases of HIV were confirmed in Sedgwick County.

The number of new syphilis cases has increased tenfold in the past three years, from three to 32.

So far this year, the Health Department has tested 3,218 people for HIV. For all of last year, the department tested 4,155 people, said Jason Ybarra, the county's senior disease intervention specialist.

"We're working with McConnell to get in as many people as possible to get tested," Ybarra said.

No appointments are necessary for testing at the Health Department's preventive health clinic at 2716 W. Central. It's open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays; noon to 6:30 p.m. Thursdays; and 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Fridays.

People with questions about any sexual transmitted infection can call the department at 316-660-7300.

In Kansas, it is a felony to knowingly expose someone to a life-threatening communicable disease by having sex, donating body fluids or sharing needles.

The sergeant has been in custody since Aug. 9.

An affidavit, which was briefly available online at the U.S. District Court's website but was later removed, said the sergeant's spouse reported that her husband contacted people overseas whom he may have exposed to HIV while stationed there. But she said, according to documents, that he hadn't told men and women he had had sex with since arriving at McConnell in 2008.