Gavin B. Atchak’s commanding officer at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina ordered him to avoid unprotected sex after Atchak tested positive for HIV in 2011.
The officer also directed Atchak, an enlisted man in the Air Force security forces, to inform future sex partners that he carried the virus that can cause AIDS.
Atchak disobeyed and engaged in unprotected oral and anal sex with fellow airmen. At a subsequent court-martial, he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. Then the ground shifted.
Now Atchak and others, including a former South Carolina-based airman, are caught amid changing times, as military prosecutors and defense lawyers alike sort through the evolving legal guidelines applicable to sexual activity among HIV-positive troops.
While some 34 states have adopted criminal laws related to exposure to HIV, Congress has not done the same for the Uniform Code of Military Justice.