HIV-Positive Woman in South Africa Raped, Beaten To Death After Disclosing HIV Status
An HIV-positive woman in South Africa on Dec. 14 was raped by several men and then beaten to death after revealing to them her HIV status, South Africa's Star reports (Mtyala, Star, 12/22). Lorna Mlosana, who was a volunteer for the country's largest AIDS advocacy group, the Treatment Action Campaign, was raped in the bathroom of a bar near Cape Town (Washington Post, 12/22). Mlosana reportedly was not able to tell the men that she was HIV-positive before they raped her and only did so after a friend entered the bathroom to help. The men then reportedly beat both women, seriously injuring the friend and killing Mlosana, London's Guardian reports. Police have arrested two men in connection with the assaults and are seeking at least one other suspect. A witness said that as many as five men took part in the attacks (Carroll, Guardian, 12/22).
Hundreds of TAC members on Monday were expected to march to protest the assault. "We are trying to address the discrimination and stigma within our own communities by condemning what is happening to our colleagues," Mandla Majola, TAC's national organizer, said (SAPA/News24.com, 12/22). However, TAC Chair Zackie Achmat said that the attacks did not reflect widespread prejudice in the community (Guardian, 12/22). "The people of Gugulethu, Khayelitsha and Mitchell's Plain have adopted a very open approach to HIV in the past six years and it is a criminal element that did this, not the community," Achmat said (Agence France-Presse, 12/20). Achmat added that the attacks should not be seen as an extension of the 1998 death of Gugu Dlamini, who was killed by a mob that included her neighbors after she publically disclosed that she was HIV-positive (SAPA/SABC News, 12/20). South Africa has the highest number of HIV-positive people in the world -- about five million of the country's 45 million people are HIV-positive (Reuters, 12/21).