A San Diego man was sentenced Monday to six months in jail after pleading no contest to a charge of violating a California health code by failing to tell a sex partner that he was HIV positive.
Thomas Miguel Guerra, 30, pleaded no contest to violating a health code that says “any person afflicted with any contagious, infectious or communicable disease who willfully exposes himself or herself to another person” is guilty of a misdemeanor.
But before sentencing by Superior Court Judge Kathleen Lewis, Guerra disavowed his plea. He said he never lied to the man who reported him to San Diego police after he learned that Guerra was HIV-positive.
“I would never, ever do something like I’m being accused of,” Guerra said. “I did not rape this person.”
Lewis gave Guerra the maximum sentence.
“We hope this tragic case helps to educate people that they have a legal obligation - as well as a moral and ethical obligation - to inform their sex partners of their HIV status,” said City Atty. Jan Goldsmith, whose office brought the charge.
Investigators found text messages and videos in which Guerra laughed about lying to sex partners. Guerra said that he had been joking.
According to court documents, Guerra told a man that he was HIV negative when the two, after meeting in an online dating site, had unprotected sex during a romance that lasted several months in 2013.
Deputy City Atty. Jill Cristich said that the man was infected by Guerra: “The victim’s life is shortened. He was deceived.”
The victim, whose name was not mentioned in court, said that now that he has AIDS, he is taking “an outrageous number of medications.”
A hearing was set for June 3 on the issue of whether Guerra should be required to pay the victim’s medical costs.