Outrage over HIV-positive prostitute's sentence
A jail term handed down to an HIV-positive prostitute in Canberra sends a “disgraceful” message that having sex with an infected person is unsafe, Australia’s peak sex workers association says.
The Scarlet Alliance has hit out after a judge’s decision today to sentence a male sex worker to two-and-a-half months in prison for providing a commercial sexual service while knowing he was infected with a sexually transmitted disease.
HS, 41, from Kingston, was charged under section 25 of the ACT’s Prostitution Control Act which makes the behaviour illegal.
Scarlet Alliance chief executive Janelle Fawkes said the organisation was “appalled” by the decision, saying she was extremely concerned at the possible repercussions after this kind of message.
“Last week, the ACT attorney-general, Simon Corbell, came out and stated that Section 25 should be reviewed and considering current risk in transmission that, in fact, an HIV positive person being a sex worker does not hold a higher risk for the community,” Ms Fawkes said.
“But this week, we have a judge in the ACT making an example of a person who was only being a sex worker whilst HIV-positive.
“That sends a clear and cutting message that having sex with an HIV-positive person is unsafe and that is simply not true.”
The same activity in NSW and several other states would not be deemed illegal, Ms Fawkes said.
The charge carries a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment, but HS was sentenced to two months and 14 days.
He also pleaded guilty to failing to register as a sex worker, for which he received a two-year good behaviour bond.
HIV sex worker jailed
A Canberra man who worked as a prostitute while infected with HIV and hepatitis C has been sentenced to less than three months in jail.
HS, 42, pleaded guilty to operating a commercial sexual service from his Kingston flat last year while knowingly being infected with HIV.
As a public health measure, the ACT health department contacted nearly 500 people known to Scott.
Forty-three of them admitted to having a sexual encounter with him and were urged to be tested for HIV.
Magistrate John Burns said it was impossible to know whether HS had unprotected sex with any of his clients.
But he said HS’s breach of the prostitution act was very serious because he chose to put others at risk for his own commercial benefit.
Magistrate Burns sentenced him to two months and 14 days in jail and a two year good behaviour order.