GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Whether it was a joke or not, telling his fellow Kent County Jail mates he put cum on their sandwiches didn’t help Jeremy Merithew when he was convicted of the crime for not having informed their partners of their HIV status.

Merithew was sentenced Monday by the Kent County Circuit Court to a minimum of five years in prison after being convicted in May of using computers to commit a felony and two counts of failing to d ” inform a sexual partner.

Merithew met a man minutes after the two started chatting on, a gay dating site, and when they had sex in August 2012, he didn’t tell the man that ‘he was HIV positive.

The victim did not contract the HIV virus.

Related: Jury: HIV-positive man guilty of failing to inform his male partner before sex

While awaiting sentencing, several inmates reported that Merithew told them he put his semen on their sandwiches, which resulted in several men being tested for the virus, court records show.

Defense lawyer Christine Yared said the charges stemmed from nothing more than a typical prison speech and the accusers were seeking media attention.

“My client is being punished for being a joke,” Yared said on June 17 before Judge James Robert Redford.

She said the accusations were trumped up by the media and others who like to get Merithew into trouble because he’s gay. She said prison officials only saw it as a joke.

Redford said Merithew’s behavior was like yelling fire in a crowded theater and caused enough concern that some inmates were asking for tests. Redford also pointed out that Merithew violated his probation by visiting a gay dating site.

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