A sex worker in Singapore has been sentenced to three years and three months’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to engaging in sexual activity without disclosing his HIV infection.
The offender, Mohamad Fazni Mohamad Azini, 38, tested positive for HIV but failed to inform clients and even had unprotected sex with an acquaintance.
According to the report, Mohamad Fazni faced four other charges under the Infectious Diseases Act, two of which he had already been convicted of in a trial held in July. The district judge took the remaining two charges into consideration during sentencing.
According to the Act, it is illegal for individuals with HIV or AIDS to engage in sexual activity without disclosing the risk of contracting the virus or without the other person voluntarily accepting the risk.
Fazni has filed an appeal against the trial convictions and sentence.
However, District Judge Marvin Bay decided to rescind a previous gag order prohibiting the publication of Fazni’s name. This decision was taken because disclosing the offender’s identity would not compromise the victims’ or witnesses’ safety. Most of the victims had only met Fazni once, making it highly unlikely that their identities would be revealed by publishing Fazni’s name.
One notable incident occurred in November 2018 when Fazni contacted a victim through Instagram, and the two agreed to meet for sex. When asked if he was HIV-positive, Fazni falsely claimed to be “clean,” after which they engaged in unprotected sex. Investigations later showed that Fazni had a high HIV viral load due to non-compliance with his HIV medication, increasing the risk of transmission to his sexual partners.
In February 2019, the victim tested positive for HIV and confronted Fazni, who eventually admitted his condition. The authorities initiated an investigation after a victim reported on June 27, 2019, that he had contracted HIV from Fazni. However, it was not clarified whether this informant was the same victim involved in the previously mentioned incident.
At the time of the offenses, Fazni worked as a transgender streetwalker in the Geylang area, offering sexual services to men for rates ranging from S$50 to S$350. Despite being aware of his HIV status since October 2007, Fazni did not disclose this information to his clients.
During his trial, Fazni’s defense argued that his undetectable or low HIV viral load meant there was minimal risk of transmission. However, the prosecution emphasized that informing potential partners about the risk was essential for them to make an informed decision.
In sentencing, Judge Marvin Bay stressed the importance of deterrence, stating that failure to inform sexual partners about HIV status could have life-changing consequences. He emphasized the significance of the intended partner’s right to choose whether to accept the risk of transmission, which cannot be overlooked, regardless of the viral load.
Each charge of engaging in sexual activity without disclosing HIV status carries a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to S$50,000, or both.
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