Sex worker case timely reminder about condoms
PRESS RELEASE: January 31, 2008
Australian sex worker case provides timely reminder about condoms
The case of an Australian sex worker accused of knowingly infecting his clients with HIV is a timely reminder about the importance of condoms, says the New Zealand AIDS Foundation.
The Ministry of Health has issued a warning about 41-year-old Hector Scott, also known as Josh or Adam, who visited Auckland for a week over the Christmas break.
He has been charged in Australia with knowingly infecting his male and female clients with sexually transmitted diseases, and it is unknown what sexual contacts he may have had while in New Zealand.
“This case is a reminder that clients – or anyone else – engaging in sex have an equal responsibility to insist on condom use,” says Douglas Jenkin, NZAF’s National Campaigns Co-ordinator.
“HIV will not be an issue for you if you’re always using condoms and water-based lube for anal and vaginal sex. The virus cannot pass through an intact latex condom. If you have put yourself at risk by having unprotected sex, then it’s best to come into one of our clinics and be tested.”
Such cases of deliberate HIV infection are very rare, but can very damaging for HIV positive people who already face discrimination and fear from many in the general public.
“In our experience, people living with HIV and AIDS have shown a high commitment to safe sex,” Jenkin says. “They are the most aware of how devastating it is to be diagnosed with HIV and very few worldwide would ever consider it OK to pass the virus onto another.”
The rarity of such cases does not mean that gay and bisexual men should be any less cautious about their sexual risk decisions, however.
“It’s important to remember that up to a third of people living with HIV do not know they have it,” Jenkin says. “You could be putting yourself at risk of infection without even realising, and it’s just not worth it. One gay or bisexual man is being diagnosed with HIV every five days in New Zealand.”
The New Zealand AIDS Foundation provides rapid HIV testing and counselling services at clinics in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch. This service, which is only available through NZAF centres, provides an HIV test result within 20 minutes.