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Wife intentionally infected with HIV

December 9, 2009

photo by lysanzia

The BBC reported this week that a New Zealand man has admitted to intentionally pricking his sleeping wife with an HIV-infected needle.  The man, who was found to be HIV positive in 2004, infected his wife so that she would agree to have sex with him again.  The wife only learned she was HIV positive last year, during a routine check-up. 

It reminded me of this equally sick, chilling case in May, of Philippe Padieu who was accused of knowingly infecting six women with HIV.  Up until his 45-year sentence was handed to him, he vehemently denied it and painted the women he’d infected as angry, crazy women out for vengeance.

These individuals should be tried for human rights abuses, not “aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.” (I can’t figure out if the “deadly weapon” is the virus, the condom-less penis, or the egregious disregard for human rights)

Women are more physiologically vulnerable to the disease, and oftentimes more vulnerable to the cultural and social reverberations of contracting it.   At the core of these two horror stories is a serious lack of respect for women as humans with rights.  ‘Nuff said. 

World AIDS Day just passed us by on the 1st of this month.  The theme this year was human rights, fittingly, and universal access.  It’s a time of remembrance for those who have lost their lives to AIDS; a time for speaking out against the silence and shame that enables this virus to spread; and a time for educating ourselves about the realities and risks of HIV. 

These women, and many others (and men, too), who have been intentionally infected are victims of human rights abuses.  There is absolutely no excuse for such a callous treatment of other human beings in such a way.  Almost worse than the incurable nature of the virus is how many HIV+ individuals are treated as incurable themselves by a society that shames and segregates.  Each one of us needs to be the change.  Find out where you can get tested here.

4 Comments
  1. December 11, 2009 10:29 am

    While these examples are quite horrifying, such cases are all too often the norm within marriages in which women are subjected to coerced sex to their husbands who engages in extramarital affairs. Such scenarios are largely responsible for the shifting gender ratios in the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in many parts of the developed and developing world.

  2. Jessica Mack permalink*
    December 11, 2009 3:18 pm

    You’re absolutely right, and well said. It’s true that aside from these examples covered in the press, there are, sadly, thousands more examples of tacit power struggles where men subjugate women with the infection of this disease. We now know it’s true that women are disproportionately effected, and I believe — because to many in charge of the countries where the HIV epidemic rages, women just don’t matter that much — efforts are failing in part because of that.

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