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The highest court for the U.S. armed forces has agreed to hear the appeal of a Kansas airman convicted of assault for exposing multiple sex partners to HIV at swinger parties in Wichita, his attorney said Friday.

David Gutierrez was a sergeant serving at McConnell Air Force base in Kansas when he was sentenced in 2011 to eight years in prison and stripped of his rank in an aggravated assault case. Prosecutors told the trial judge that a stiff sentence would send a message that the military values the integrity of its service members, saying Gutierrez played Russian roulette with his sexual partners' lives.

The defense on appeal has won a rare opportunity to present before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces an argument that his attorney says could set a far-reaching precedent across the military.

"It will set the table for the entire military services as to what kind of evidence is necessary to find that someone can cause grievous bodily injury after testing positive for HIV," said Kevin McDermott, one of his defense attorneys.

In addition to the HIV issue, the military appeals court agreed Tuesday to decide whether the evidence was sufficient to find Gutierrez committed adultery. The defense contends Gutierrez can't be guilty of adultery because his wife participated with her husband in the "swinger's lifestyle."

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