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South African Press Association

South Africa - No law on deliberate HIV infection: report


A Soweto man has been unable to lay criminal charges against his former girlfriend for allegedly trying to infect him with HIV, it was reported.

The 27-year-old man tried to open a case at the Dobsonville police station, but was told he could bring only a civil suit because there was no law to support a criminal case, the Sowetan reported.

"We don't have a [criminal] act that covers HIV or prevents an HIV [positive] person from infecting another intentionally," a policeman reportedly told him.

The man went for blood tests after his former partner said in an sms that she had infected him with HIV. However, he reportedly said that whether or not he was infected, he had been exposed to possible HIV infection.

When the newspaper approached her for comment, the woman said: "He is the one that started this by telling the whole township about me being HIV-positive. I don't care anymore."

Section27 attorney Sasha Stevenson told the Sowetan that transmission of HIV, intentional or not, was not a criminal offence in line with global legal guidelines on HIV.

Another attorney, Vuyisile Mavuya, reportedly said there was a legal difficulty proving the intentions of an HIV-positive sexual partner beyond a reasonable doubt.

Metro FM talk show host Criselda Kananda, who specialises in HIV-related matters, said it was legally possible for a person to be charged with attempted murder for infecting others with HIV, but it was "almost impossible" to prove this.


South African Press Association (Johannesburg) provides news to news organizations around the world. 

Information in this article was accurate in April 22, 2013. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.