Monday, May 25, 2020

HIV/AIDS predators on the loose

Couples cohabiting for years without full commitment could be a major factor in the spread of the HIV/AIDS virus in Botswana.

It’s been said that there are men who enter relationships with the knowledge that they have the HIV virus but prefer to keep this information from their partners.

There are allegations of the existence of predators out there who have the HIV virus and have sworn to not die alone. It has also been said that it is these same partners who will, after a year or two of living with the partner, insist that they start to have sex without a condom. It’s a dangerous time for those in the dating world because nowadays unprotected sex between couples who have been together for a while seems to be the norm.

It has also been said that these infected partners may be having unprotected sex with other partners on the side.

However, many people in Botswana are ignorant of the fact that spreading the HIV virus with intention of infecting the other person is a criminal act that one could be jailed for.

To my knowledge, there aren’t any reported cases in Botswana where an infected person had taken their infector to the courts for the offense. It’s said that the most difficult phase of taking the offender to court is when one has to offer proof that the offender indeed knew that he had the virus at the time when he initiated the process of unprotected sex.

In Botswana, the testing centers such as Tebelopele have ensured that results of one’s status are private and confidential; therefore it would be hard to bring forth evidence of one’s results before the act.

The Botswana Network on Ethics Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA)’s Linny Aaron, suspects that it’s not that such cases are not reported in Botswana; it could be that the police are ignorant of a law that allows people to open cases of such nature.

Aaron revealed to The Sunday Standard that one who has been infected by their partner intentionally can open a case against the offender either as a criminal offense under Section 184 of the penal code or as a civil suit.

Aaron said that the law in Botswana prohibits the spread of infectious diseases; this is captured in Section 184 of the country’s penal code which reads thus:

“Any person who unlawfully or negligently does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life, is guilty of an offense.”

Says Aaron: “The courts interpret it to mean that this includes HIV/AIDS.”
Aaron said that even though she is not aware of any such cases being opened in Botswana, she knows for a fact that it has been used in other countries.

“Case law does not limit you to only previous cases within your jurisdiction, you can go as far as to use cases from other countries,” said Aaron.

It has been said that in other countries infected people would go as far as to print photos of their infector and post them all over their towns and cities warning others of the danger the person poses in society. Others have allegedly started websites where they upload pictures of people who are quietly spreading the disease amongst unsuspecting individuals.
Perhaps the best case study to give would be that of a 53-year-old man from Dallas called Phillipe Padieu.

Padieu was sentenced to jail for 45 years for having unprotected sex without telling his sexual partners about his HIV status and in the process ended up infecting more than 6 women with the virus.

Padieu was found guilty of assault with a deadly weapon; in this case the deadly weapon used was the HIV virus. His case was the first time in America that DNA sequencing was used to convict a man.
According to ABC News’ 20/20, the defense attorneys had argued that Padieu was in denial, that he had no obligation to disclose his HIV status and that the sex was consensual.
“Mr. Padieu is not a predator,” attorney Bennie House said. “He’s a polygamist. He likes sex.”

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper

Sunday Standard May 24 – 30

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of May 24 - 30, 2020.