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Somali Refugee Sentenced To 8 Years In UK For Infecting Women With HIV - 2003-11-21

Earlier this month in England, a Somali refugee was sentenced to eight years in prison for knowingly infecting two women with the AIDS virus. It was the first conviction in that country in 137 years for passing on a sexually transmitted disease.

A jury took less than three hours to find 38-year-old Mohammed Dica guilty of “grievous bodily harm.” The judge said Dica deliberately tricked the women into having unprotected sex.

Among those commenting on the case is Gus Cairns, editor and chief of “Positive Nation” magazine. It’s published by the UK Coalition of People Living with HIV and AIDS. From London, Mr. Cairns spoke to English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the case of Mohammed Dica, which he says has stirred debate in the HIV-positive community.

Some believe the case criminalizes HIV-positive status and will prevent people from being tested or disclosing their condition out of fear of stigma and discrimination. Mr. Cairns says consenting adults have a responsibility to ask about and tell their HIV status.