You've probably heard about Nadja Benaissa, a 28-year-old German pop star who was recently slammed with a 2-year suspended sentence for infecting a former partner with HIV. Nadja Benaissa was dragged to court on accusations of failing to inform her lovers that she was HIV positive. She faced up to 10 years imprisonment, but a German court tampered justice with mercy because the celebrity confessed and showed remorse.
Nadja Benaissa was arrested in April 2009 and charged with causing bodily harm by having unprotected sex without telling her partners that she was HIV positive. On August 26, 2010, the court found Nadja Benaissa guilty of causing "grievous bodily harm" and "attempted bodily harm." Nadja denied to have deliberately infected her former partner who contracted HIV during their relationship.
This verdict has sparked criticism from AIDS organisations. Many argue that Nadja Benaissa has been unfairly treated and stigmatized. Others argue that "safe sex" is the responsibility of everyone involved in a relationship; not the sole responsibility of the infected partner.
I sympathise with Nadja Benaissa because she discovered that she was HIV positive when she was only 16 years old and pregnant, and kept the infection secret to protect her child. But in the interest of public health, I concur with the verdict of the court.
Practicing protected sex is the responsibility of everyone involved in a relationship, but mindful of the high risk of transmitting HIV, Nadja should have abstained from [unprotected] sex or disclosed her HIV status to her partners. Perhaps, such a disclosure would have discouraged her former partners from recklessly participating in unprotected sex.
It is worth mentioning that Nadja Benaissa infected one of her partners and one remains free of HIV. The court ordered her to do 300 hours of community service (possibly helping people with HIV).
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