Crime

He went to prison for exposing people to HIV. That didn't stop him, Gulfport cops say

Tyrone Ross
Tyrone Ross Gulfport Police Department

About six years ago, a Gulfport man knowingly exposed two people to HIV.

The man, now 29, served time in prison and is on parole — and has done it again, Gulfport police say.

Tyrone Ross met a man while both were in jail and was intimate with him behind bars, and they continued their relationship after they were released, according to the victim's complaint, Police Sgt. Clayton Fulks said Monday.

Police arrested Ross on Sunday on the same charge from his prior convictions.

He had been under a state Health Department quarantine when he previously exposed two people to the human immunodeficiency virus in 2012.

He was convicted in October 2014, and Circuit Judge Lisa Dodson sentenced Ross a month later to 10 years in prison. The potential prison term for the crime is three to 10 years.

Ross served a portion of his sentence and has been under the supervision of a state parole officer. Until his arrest on the new charge Sunday, he was scheduled to finish parole on March 21, 2022, the state prison website shows.

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Ross initially had been arrested on three counts of exposing three people to HIV by bodily substance. He served time on two of the three counts.

HIV is transmitted through certain bodily fluids, such as blood or semen, and can be transmitted during unprotected sex. The virus is potentially deadly; those who have the virus are susceptible to infections that can lead to death.

At the time of Ross' 2014 conviction, he was among 8,983 people living with an HIV diagnosis in Mississippi, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An additional 935 cases statewide were reported in 2015 and 2016.

One in seven people do not know they are infected with HIV, the CDC says.

A total of 46 new HIV cases were reported in South Mississippi in 2016, according to statistics from the Mississippi State Department of Health. The number represents a decrease of nearly 18 percent from 2015, when 56 new cases were reported.

South Mississippi has the second lowest rate per capita of new HIV cases in the state, the statistics show. For 2016, the rate of cases per 100,000 population was 9.4.

Hinds and surrounding counties had the highest rate per capita, 23.4, in 2016.

The number of HIV cases reported in South Mississippi in 2016:

  • Harrison County: 27

  • Jackson County: 10

  • Pearl River County: 4

  • Hancock County: 3

  • George County: 1

  • Stone County: 0

— Mississippi State Department of Health

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews
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