South African Court Orders Man to Pay Wife Damages for Infecting Her With HIV
South African High Court acting Judge Naren Pandya last week ordered a man to pay his wife $116,400 (one million rand) in damages for infecting her with HIV, marking the first time in South Africa a woman has "claimed damages" for being "wilfully" infected with HIV by her husband, the Johannesburg Sunday Times reports. The unidentified Durban woman met her husband, who was already HIV-positive, on a trip to Mozambique in 1995. They married in 1998, and she learned of his HIV status five months after they were married from a doctor who performed an emergency operation on the husband. "I was very shocked. I was paralyzed and just looked at my husband and started crying. He looked at me and said, 'Sorry, sorry, sorry,'" she said. The damages are for "pain and suffering, and the mental anguish and the progressive loss of amenities of life" and to cover her medical expenses, according to Pandya. "He stole my life. He imposed a death sentence on me and he doesn't want to be responsible for it," the woman said of her husband who has since left her, adding, "Husbands who are HIV-positive or have AIDS must tell their wives." Jose Ferreira, the defendant's attorney, said on Friday that he will seek to have the judgment set aside in favor of a trial because his client "never received the summons and wants to defend himself" (Anstey, Johannesburg Sunday Times, 7/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.