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Health authorities warn public about Oz sex worker

30 January 2008

Health authorities warn public about Australian sex worker

Please attribute to Dr Alison Roberts, Senior Advisor Public Health Medicine

Health authorities are reinforcing the safer sex message following publicity about individuals in Australia being put at risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) through unsafe sex with a male sex worker.

An Australian sex worker has been charged with knowingly infecting individuals and is being prosecuted in Canberra.

A media conference today in Canberra warned individuals who may have had unsafe sex with a sex worker to seek advice from sexual health services.

Australian authorities have alerted the Ministry of Health that the sex worker travelled to New Zealand for a week over the Christmas break (23 - 30 December 2007) and he flew into and out of Auckland.
The Ministry understands the sex worker concerned has had both men and women clients in Australia and offers services under the aliases of Josh and Adam.

Anyone in New Zealand who believes they may have had unsafe sex with this individual should make contact with their local Sexual Health Clinic.

The Ministry of Health has sought information from Australian authorities about any further details about his activities here.

"We do not know if he had sex with anyone in New Zealand or whether he may have had sex in Australia with New Zealanders who have travelled there. Nor do we know if he practiced unsafe sex in these situations, but given the fact he is being prosecuted in Australia it is wise to pass on the warning here," said Dr Roberts.

The man appears in court in Canberra on February 7 when further details about his activities in New Zealand may emerge as part of the court case.

There has been considerable reporting of this case in the Australian media. Links to a selection of the reports can be found below:

http://grenfell.yourguide.com.au/articles/1166095.html?src=topstories
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23072493-5006784,00.html
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/01/18/2141850.htm

Background information

What is unsafe sex?
The most effective form of safe sex is using a condom. For more specific advice go to http://www.staysafe.co.nz

Has he committed any offence in New Zealand?
Not as far as we are aware. It is illegal in New Zealand to wilfully infect anyone with a disease. It is a defence to take precautions or prevent the risk of spread of infection - for example through the use of a condom.

Will the sex worker be able to revisit New Zealand?
If convicted of the offence for which he is being prosecuted he will not be able to routinely enter New Zealand in future.

Would he be prosecuted in New Zealand?
If he was found to have committed an offence in New Zealand prosecution would be considered if he ever returned to New Zealand.

ENDS

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