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Ex-leader at trial: It was sex, not rape:




 

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Former South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma testified Tuesday at his rape trial that his accuser led him to believe she wanted sex by lamenting she had no boyfriend and wearing a skirt when she visited his house.

Zuma, who used to head South Africa's National AIDS Council, claims he had consensual sex with the woman, an HIV-positive AIDS activist. On Tuesday, he said for the first time that he was not infected with the virus that causes AIDS and he saw little risk in having unprotected sex with the woman.

Under cross examination from the prosecution, Zuma, 63, said he did not use a condom when he had sex with his 31-year-old accuser because he believed the risk of a man being infected by a woman is statistically lower than a woman picking up the virus from a man.

"I knew that the risk I was taking was not a great risk," Zuma said.

AIDS activists fear Zuma's behavior may set a bad example in a country that has the highest number of people with HIV in the world and where men often have multiple partners and are notoriously reluctant to use condoms.

The woman, a longtime family friend who referred to Zuma as uncle, has accused him of raping her at his home Nov. 2 when she came over for dinner and stayed overnight as a guest.

Zuma denies the charges and says it is part of a political plot to destroy his ambition of becoming South African president when Thabo Mbeki steps down in 2009.

On his second day of testimony, Zuma repeatedly insisted the woman encouraged his sexual advances by using terms such as "love" and "kisses" in cellphone text messages, as well as telling him that she was lonely and had no boyfriend.

He told the court that her appearance also played a role.

"Normally when she came to visit she would be wearing [pants]. But on the day in question, she was wearing a skirt and her legs were exposed," he said. "That gave me an indication that she was expecting me to be of some assistance to her."



 


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Information in this article was accurate in April 5, 2006. 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.