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Sexual chill falls over Camp Borden
Wednesday, March 23, 2005 Updated at 8:12 PM EST
CFB Borden, Ont. -- An HIV scare has created a sexual chill at an Ontario military base that cycles thousands of Canadian soldiers through its gates each year.
A woman who soldiers said is known for her promiscuity faces charges after allegedly engaging in unprotected sex without informing a partner that she was HIV-positive.
Although the charges stem from one alleged relationship, there were fears there could be many others.
Soldiers recall a woman making advances on several men at bars on the base and in the nearby Angus, Ont. area.
"She was a partier, to put it mildly," Pte. Trish Harnett told reporters on Wednesday.
One soldier told Global TV that two of his friends claim to have had sexual relations with the woman.
"We have indication that she may have frequented the barracks as well," said Petty Officer Ted Lee, who is leading the ongoing probe at CFB Borden, about two hours north of Toronto.
Soldiers who knew the accused said she arrived at the base in the middle of last month -- visiting friends. There were news reports that at one time her husband was assigned to the base, but that she made her recent return without him.
CFB Borden is mainly a training facility. Around 3,200 teaching and support staff are permanently posted at the base. Another 15,000 soldiers, sailors and air personnel rotate through every year as students.
After graduation, they are posted to other bases across the country.
"People come and go through here. Almost every trade in the armed forces is trained here, so it's very transient," Pte. Harnett said.
Military police received their first complaint on March 2. A suspect was arrested that day. An undisclosed number of other soldiers have since come forward.
The man who lodged the initial complaint is currently awaiting results of a blood test.
Officials said they wanted to get the word out.
"Essentially we are one small part of a bigger community and we want to ensure that for health and safety reasons that everybody in the community is aware," P.O. Lee told Global.
While public health officials recommend caution, they said there was no need to panic.
"It's not a high risk, and the risk would be slightly higher for women than it would be for men," Dr. Rita Shahin, of Toronto Public Health told Global.
She said experts consider the risk of contracting HIV during one act of sexual intercourse to be about 0.3 per cent.
But Pte. Eric Dastous told the station he feels fortunate he turned a proposal down when a woman approached him asking if he wanted to "party" with her.
"I was like -- instantly, right away -- it just kinda freaked me out," the young man told Global. "I thought it was a little weird."
He said there is a sense of anger on the base among soldiers who've heard about the charges.
"We were all pretty mad about it, when we heard about it," he said.
The arrest marks the first case of its kind in the Canadian forces, P.O. Lee said.
Jennifer Murphy, 31, made a brief court appearance in Barrie, Ont., Wednesday morning, facing two counts of aggravated assault. She was remanded to a Penetanguishene, Ont., facility pending her next court date.
Ms. Murphy is not a member of the Canadian forces, and will be tried in a civilian court.
One: what a fuckin' headline. Two: Dr. Rita Shahin a real sweetheart - NOT!