Man pleads no contest to knowingly spreading HIV


Thomas Miguel Guerra

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SAN DIEGO – A man who willfully exposed a sex partner to the HIV virus pleaded no contest Monday to a violation of the state health code.

Thomas Miguel Guerra, also known as Ashton Chavez, previously pled not guilty. Guerra faces a potential penalty of six months in custody and a $1,000 fine.

Guerra was accused of knowing he was HIV positive and that he willfully and unlawfully had unprotected sex with the victim without disclosing his HIV status.

The 29-year-old is charged with one count of violating health and safety code specifically noting “… any person afflicted with any contagious, infectious, or communicable disease who willfully exposes himself or herself to another person, or any person who willfully exposes another person with the disease to someone else, is guilty of a misdemeanor.”

In August 2013, a victim told San Diego police that he and Guerra were in a relationship for several months. Guerra allegedly claimed he was HIV negative and the two proceeded to have unprotected sex.

Months later, the victim learned he was HIV positive after previously being tested negative. After the relationship ended, the victim learned that Guerra knew he was HIV positive before the relationship began, the prosecutor reported.

This case is the first prosecution of willful HIV transmission in San Diego County, according to the prosecutor. The City Attorney’s Office found no previous successful prosecution of this kind in the 20 years since the Legislature adopted this statute.

Guerra will be sentencing on April 13.


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