Man got HIV — on purpose. Then he planned to infect others with the virus, he says

Stephen Koch
Stephen Koch Benton County Jail

An Arkansas man admitted in court this week that he intentionally infected himself with HIV so that he could expose others to the virus.

While in court, 25-year-old Stephen Koch, of Scranton, was asked by the judge whether that was really his intent, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported.

"Just so I can get my brain around this, did I understand the state correctly?" Circuit Judge Robin Green asked. "Mr. Koch intentionally contracted the HIV virus so he could then infect others?"

Koch said it was true, according to the Democrat Gazette.

The judge then asked Koch whether the reason he contracted the disease was to hurt other people.

"Yes," Scranton replied, according to the newspaper.

According to court documents obtained by KNWA, Benton County prosecutors discovered Koch infected himself with the virus after searching through his computer for child pornography.

Stuart Cearley, chief deputy prosecutor, said in court that text messages and other communications found during the search indicated that Koch infected himself with HIV, the Democrat Gazette reported. The prosecutor said Koch was making plans for a double date where he could deceive people about his HIV status.

Koch pleaded guilty on Monday to attempting to expose another person to HIV, possession of meth with purpose to deliver and eight counts of distributing or viewing child pornography, KNWA reported. He was then sentenced to 50 years in the Arkansas Department of Correction and required to register as a sex offender.

Earlier this year, a British man was found guilty for intentionally infecting five men with HIV, The Washington Post reported.

While in court, Daryll Rowe said he insisted on having unprotected sex with men he met through the Grindr app. If the men refused to have unprotected sex, he would tear the end of the condom.

Rowe was sentenced to life in prison.

Congress and state regulators having cleared the way, surgeons at Duke University recently performed North Carolina's first transplant of an organ from an HIV-positive donor into an HIV-positive recipient.