A hairdresser deliberately tried to infect his lovers with HIV after meeting them on Grindr, a court has heard.
Daryll Rowe, 26, is accused of insisting on unprotected sex with his partners, claiming to be free of the virus, and of tampering with the condom when they insisted he used them.
He later sent mocking text messages telling his partners he was HIV positive and that they could be at risk, Lewes crown court heard.
One received a text saying: “Maybe you have the fever. I came inside you and I have HIV LOL. Oops!”
Rowe, who is originally from Edinburgh, is charged with infecting four men with the virus and attempting to infect a further six between October 2015 and December 2016.
He was living and working in the Brighton area at the time of the alleged offences. Rowe denies the charges.
The prosecutor Caroline Carberry QC described his alleged crimes as “a cynical and deliberate campaign to infect other men with HIV”.
Rowe was diagnosed with HIV in April 2015 while he was living in Edinburgh after a sexual health clinic contacted him to tell him a former partner had the virus.
Doctors found he was coping well with his diagnosis, Carberry told the court, but they were concerned when he refused vaccination for common illnesses to which HIV-positive patients are susceptible, such as pneumonia.
They were also worried when he refused antiretroviral drugs that can slow the development of the virus and make those infected less contagious, jurors heard.
“He was warned he could be prosecuted for passing [HIV] on or even putting someone at risk of contracting HIV from him,” Carberry said. “He told his doctors he was not going to engage in any unprotected sex again, but failed to attend further appointments in Edinburgh and by this time he had moved to Brighton.
“He had no obvious family or other connections in the area, although he had been in communication online on a dating app, Grindr, with a number of men. Through Grindr, the prosecution says, he was in contact with men that he would later go on to infect or attempt to affect with HIV.”
The court heard that one of the complainants last tested negative for HIV on the morning he met Rowe, in October 2015, and he did not have sex again before he was diagnosed with the virus two months later.
In a phone call to another partner, who had insisted he use a condom, Rowe allegedly said: “I ripped the condom. You’re so stupid. You didn’t even know.”
Another man had only had one sexual partner before Rowe and considered him to be his boyfriend, the court heard.
The judge Christine Henson has granted all victims the right to lifelong anonymity and the option to give evidence from behind a screen so they will not have to face Rowe in court.
After two complainants came forward, Sussex police launched Operation Brickhill and a community-wide public health warning in the Brighton area to look for further possible victims.
The trial continues and is expected to last six weeks.