A Sydney man has pleaded guilty to recklessly causing grievous bodily harm over allegedly transmitting HIV to his former partner.

The man appeared in the Downing Centre District Court yesterday, News.com.au has reported.

The HIV transmission allegedly occurred six years ago, when he was 24.

He was arrested by Australian Federal Police officers at Sydney Airport in January 2016, four years after police began searching for him.

He has since been on bail.

The man’s previous lawyer told the court that his former partner, then aged 29, was “well aware” of his HIV status during their nine-month relationship.

A sentencing hearing will be held in September.

The case is the latest in a spate of HIV-related charges around Australia.

Another Sydney man last year lost a High Court appeal against charges of grievous bodily harm over allegedly concealing his HIV status from a partner, leading to transmission of the virus through condomless sex.

A Western Australian man faced court earlier this month over allegedly transmitting HIV to two former partners.

And Perth sex worker CJ Palmer was found guilty in January of grievous bodily harm over allegedly transmitting HIV to a partner. Palmer, a trans woman, was sentenced to six years imprisonment and will be held in a male prison.

David Kernohan, CEO of WA AIDS Council, said HIV must be treated as a health issue rather than a criminal issue.

Of Palmer’s case, he further condemned the court’s decision to send her to a male prison.

“Criminalisation of HIV can lead to fear, people being less likely to seek information and support, and negative and untrue stereotypes being reinforced,” Kernohan said.

“Placing a person in a situation where they are at risk of abuse, isolation, fear, intimidation, bullying and harassment is not retributive justice, it is placing a person at risk.”

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