A Perth man living with HIV has been jailed after failing to disclose his HIV status to four men and having “reckless” unprotected sex.
The 30-year-old, who can’t be named to protect the victims, told the men that he didn’t have the virus despite testing positive some years earlier. All four subsequently tested positive, The West Australian reported.
The court heard the man was diagnosed and informed he had contracted HIV in 2012. He was also informed of the legal obligations of HIV at the time.
In early 2013, he denied he was HIV-positive to a man he had unprotected sex with. The man later tested positive.
The offender met another man on a dating app in 2014, before having unprotected sex with him months later in 2015.
The man also tested positive for the virus after later becoming ill.
He then informed the offender and believed the offender was hearing about it for the first time. They maintained a relationship and had sex a further two times.
The offender also repeatedly told a long-term boyfriend during that time he didn’t have HIV.
However the partner discovered antiretroviral medication and got an HIV test himself. He discovered he too had contracted the virus. The pair split in 2016.
The Perth man also told a fourth man on Tinder in 2017 he didn’t have the virus, the court heard.
The court also heard he regularly described himself on various dating apps as HIV-negative, but the man denied this.
Judge calls Perth man’s behaviour as ‘selfish and utterly self-absorbed
The offender told the court he feared he would be ostracised due to HIV stigma if his status were known.
He pleaded guilty to an unlawful act likely to endanger his victims’ life, health or safety, the West Australian reported.
He was sentenced on the basis he was “reckless” by failing to be honest, comply with HIV treatment and “take precautions”.
WA District Court Judge Troy Sweeney told the court the man struggled with his diagnosis and put his head “in the sand”.
However he said by deceiving the man he’d failed his “duty to your fellow human being”.
“Your behaviour was so extraordinarily selfish, so utterly self-absorbed,” she said.
“Apart from the illegality of what you did, it was so grossly immoral to fail to take precautions and to fail to be honest with these four men with whom you were sexually involved.”
Police arrested the man in January 2018 and he has remained in custody.
The court backdated the offender’s sentence to July 2019. He’ll be eligible for parole after serving three years.
Undetectable viral load means people with HIV can’t pass it on
Due to modern advances in medication, people living with HIV who adhere to successful treatment can achieve an undetectable viral load.
This then means they are no longer able to transmit HIV to other people.
There’s no legal requirement in any Australian state or territory to disclose HIV positive status before sex, if an individual “takes reasonable precautions” to prevent HIV transmission.
The availability of daily PrEP medication also allows people who don’t have HIV to protect themselves from transmission during sex.
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