A 29-year-old man from Imperial Beach near San Diego has been charged with knowingly infecting a partner with HIV.
Thomas Miguel Guerra pleaded not guilty this week during a brief hearing in San Diego County Superior Court. The charge is a misdemeanor, with a maximum sentence of six months in jail.
But more charges, with more alleged victims, could be added at a hearing set for Tuesday.
"There is an ongoing investigation as to whether there may be additional charges," said a spokesman for San Diego City Atty. Jan Goldsmith.
The alleged victim told investigators that he believed Guerra was HIV negative until he happened to look at messages on Guerra's cellphone and found that Guerra had "joked around ... about being HIV positive and other people not knowing," according to court documents.
The alleged victim then ended their relationship and took the case to police, according to court documents. The text messages dated back to 2007.
Another alleged former partner of Guerra's told the Los Angeles Times on Friday that he had given a statement to city prosecutors saying that he, too, may have been infected with HIV by Guerra, who had sworn that he was negative. The second partner said that during their relationship Guerra was using a different name.
Under California law, anyone "with any contagious, infectious or communicable disease who willfully exposes himself or herself to another person" is guilty of a misdemeanor.
The alleged victim is identified only by first name and last initial in court documents.
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