Knowingly exposing another person to the risk of HIV infection amounts to attempted murder. That it seems is the bottom line in a recent High Court decision, confirming on appeal a sentence of 6 years imprisonment imposed on a 32 year old HIV positive man who, with full knowledge of his status, nevertheless had unprotected sex with an HIV negative woman.
The man, who was employed as an HIV-AIDS counsellor at a government clinic, met the woman when she came to the clinic for an HIV test (she tested negative). Thereafter a relationship developed between them, they had consensual sexual intercourse on two occasions, and subsequently the woman tested positive for HIV.
Confirming the man’s conviction on a charge of attempted murder, the Court held that it was not necessary for the prosecution to prove that the man had actually transmitted HIV to the woman: “It was sufficient for a conviction on the count of attempted murder, to establish that the appellant, knowing that he was HIV positive, engaged in sexual intercourse with the complainant, whom he knew to be HIV negative, without any preventative measures.”