“ A person must not work as a sex worker during any period in which he or she knows that he or she is infected with a sexually transmitted disease. Penalty: 20 penalty units.
If it is proved to a court that a person worked as a sex worker during a period in which he or she was infected with a sexually transmitted disease, he or she must be presumed to have known that he or she was so infected unless he or she proves that at the time the offence is alleged to have been committed—
that he or she had been undergoing—
(i) regular blood tests, on at least a quarterly basis for HIV and each other sexually transmitted disease for which blood tests are appropriate; and
(ii) regular swab tests, at the time periods* determined by the Health Minister by Order published in the Government Gazette, for the purpose of determining whether he or she was infected with any other sexually transmitted disease; and
(b) he or she believed on reasonable grounds that he or she was not infected with a sexually transmitted disease.”
*Currently, time periods are three monthly for blood tests and swab tests.
Essentially this means that your defence against this charge could be that you have had three monthly blood tests and examinations to check for STIs, or that you honestly believed (on reasonable grounds) that you were not infected with an STI.
Another (non legal) reason for regular sexual health checks is to detect and treat STIs if they arise, as being sexually healthy enhances your ability to earn a living though sex work.
RhED does not support or endorse mandatory testing.
If you work for an escort agency or brothel, similar laws (section 19) make it an obligation for owners and managers to monitor the health of sex workers who work for them.
Remember any information you do give your employer or brothel owner/manager regarding your health is confidential. Your employer/s or brothel owner/manager are obliged (by law) not to discuss or make available to others such information, without your consent.
*Other clinics and doctors may charge for both HIV and STI testing. Best to ask first.
Dandenong Sexual Health Nurse
84 Foster Street
T: (03) 9794 3175
Melbourne Sexual Health Centre
580 Swanston Street
(03) 9347 0244 or 1800 032 017
Royal Woman’s Hospital
132 Grattan Street
T: (03) 9344 2000
Royal Melbourne Hospital
Infectious Diseases Services
T: (03) 9342 7000
Ballarat STI/HIV Clinic
710 Sturt Street
South Ballarat 3350
T: (03) 5838 4500
Bendigo STI/HIV Clinic
T: (03) 5446 8800
Geelong Sexual Health Clinic
T: (03) 5226 4915
T: (03) 5226 4915 (Tuesday afternoon clinic)
Mornington Peninsula Hospital
Sexual Health Clinic
T: (03) 9784 7777
Taralgon STI/HIV Clinic
La Trobe Regional Hospital
T: (03) 5173 8000
Wodonga STI/HIV Clinic
Vermont Street Health Clinic
81 Vermont Street
T: (02) 6056 1589
For more information phone RhED 1800 458 752 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
This information is of a general nature and does not substitute for legal advice.