HIV woman jailed for hiding disease from husband

A 39 year old woman from northwest Skåne, who for nine years hid from her husband the fact that she was HIV positive, was sentenced on Friday to two and a half years imprisonment for attempted assault.

The woman was infected with HIV in 1986 when she was a 19, working temporarily in France. The following year she discovered that she had the virus.

When she later met her husband she did not reveal that she was carrying HIV. During their marriage she had unprotected sex with him on many occasions, resulting in two children.

Doctors repeatedly impressed upon her the need to avoid unprotected intercourse and said that she should not have children. But even during her pregnancy and the births she hid the fact that she had the virus – from medical staff as well as from her husband.

She told the doctor treating her for the disease that she was in a common-law marriage and did not have a sexual relationship with her husband.

Neither the husband nr the children were infected with HIV. But since they were exposed to a considerable risk, the court judged that the woman should pay 250,000 kronor in compensation to the man and 150,000 kronor to each of the children.

The court said that the woman had ‘systematically and intentionally’ attempted to conceal from those closest to her that she was HIV positive.

During the trial earlier this month, the woman denied that she had committed a crime. She thought, claimed her lawyer, that there was no risk of infection since the treatment with the anti-retroviral drugs was going so well and her virus levels were low.

Her lawyer, Katarina Nordquist, said she will recommend that the woman appeals against the verdict. She believes her client should have been found not guilty.

“This is about very low virus levels, which were affirmed by the prosecutor’s expert witness too,” she said.

According to Nordquist, the woman has not acted intentionally as the court maintained.

TT/The Local