A man in Perth, Australia, has been jailed for five years after he failed to disclose that he was living with HIV to four sexual partners – all of whom later tested positive for the virus.
The 30-year-old, who has not been named to protect the identities of his victims, told the four men that he did not have HIV before having condomless sex with them, the West Australian reports.
A court heard that the accused had actually been diagnosed with HIV in 2012.
In 2013, he told a man that he did not have HIV before having condomless sex with him. His sexual partner was later diagnosed with the virus.
In 2014, he told another man through the dating app Squirt that he did not have HIV. A year later, the two met and had condomless sex. Just weeks later, his sexual partner became ill, and he tested positive for HIV four months later.
In 2012 the accused embarked on a long-term relationship, and told his boyfriend that he did not have HIV. They started having condomless sex in 2014, but his boyfriend’s suspicions were aroused in 2015 when he found antiretroviral medication.
The boyfriend went for a HIV test and discovered that he too had the virus. They separated a year later.
Following that incident, the accused met up with a man through Tinder and had condomless sex with him after claiming that he did not have HIV. That man also tested positive.
Man who lied about HIV status ‘extraordinarily selfish’.
The offender was arrested in January 2018 and charged with unlawfully engaging in an act that was likely to endanger his victims’ life, health or safety.
In his sentencing, district court Judge Troy Sweeney said the man had been “reckless” by failing to disclose his HIV status to the four men.
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The man claimed that he had struggled with his diagnosis and was afraid of being ostracised by his community, but Sweeney accused him of burying his head “in the sand”.
He told the man that he had failed in his “duty” to his fellow human beings by not telling the men that he had HIV.
“Your behaviour was so extraordinarily selfish, so utterly self-absorbed,” the judge told him.
“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.”
His sentence was backdated to July 2019 and he will be eligible for parole after serving three years.
Today, people who live with HIV can have an undetectable viral load when taking effective medication – meaning they cannot pass the virus on through condomless sex.
However, when the viral load is not controlled through antiretroviral medication, it can be passed on through sex.