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Canadian Football
League player’s HIV status revealed

Canadian Football
League player’s HIV status revealed

Canadian police have publicly revealed that Canadian Football League player Trevis Smith is HIV-positive following Smith's October 28 arrest on charges of aggravated sexual assault, The New York Times reports. Police say the public warning was necessary because of the seriousness of the charges against Smith and the possibility he may have put others at risk of HIV infection. At a November 2 hearing, Smith, an Alabama native, pleaded not guilty and was released on bail but was ordered by a judge to use condoms for any sexual activity and to inform his sex partners that he is HIV-positive.

Smith's Saskatchewan Roughriders teammates were unaware of his infection, although team management had known for the past year that Smith is HIV-positive. Smith has been listed on the team's disabled list since his arrest and has not played since then, but he had played during the previous year after disclosing his status to team management.

Smith's case has renewed debate over whether HIV-positive athletes should be barred from competition if they participate in sports where physical contact is commonplace, the Times reports. Although the judge in Smith's case did not rule on whether he should be allowed to continue playing the professional contact sport, several Canadian Football League players have expressed concern that they could be exposed to HIV if they compete against Smith. However, no case of HIV transmission has ever been linked to contact with an HIV-positive athlete, even in such physical sports as rugby and football, AIDS experts say.

The Canadian Public Health Association is reportedly distributing HIV education materials to all players and staff on the nine Canadian Football League teams to help alleviate their fears about contracting the virus on the playing field. (

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