A trans sex worker is facing court in Perth over allegedly transmitting HIV to a client.
CJ Palmer is accused of grievous bodily harm, ABC News has reported.
State prosecutor Ben Stanwix said it was alleged that Palmer did not disclose her own positive status to the client even when asked several times.
“She also assured him that she was tested regularly and did not have any sexually transmitted diseases or viruses,” he said.
Palmer had been diagnosed by a nurse who could not contact her afterwards, “because it seemed Ms Palmer did not want to face reality”, said Stanwix.
Palmer has pleaded not guilty, and her lawyer Simon Freitag said the two key issues in the case were “communication” and “transmission”.
He argued that if the state cannot prove Palmer knew she was positive then she is not guilty.
Freitag said the defence will also contest the man’s claim that Palmer was the only person he had sex with before his diagnosis.
The jury was warned to approach the case rationally.
“Ms Palmer is not on trial for working in the sex industry or being transgender,” said Stanwix.
“She is on trial because it is alleged she had unprotected sex with [the man], knowing she had HIV and she didn’t tell him about it.”
David Kernohan, CEO of the WA AIDS Council, said that with treatment HIV can become untransmittable.
“In 2018 there are various treatments available to people who have HIV which means their viral load is undetectable,” he told the Star Observer.
“Scientific studies have shown that people who have undetectable viral loads are unable to transmit the virus to another person, which is the basis for the U = U message (undetectable = untransmittable).
“The WA AIDS Council encourages all… to test regularly and if diagnosed with HIV to adhere to treatment regimens to ensure an undetectable viral load.
“Where a person does this, they do not transmit the virus to another person and court cases such as the current one would not occur.”
The trial is set to continue for four days.