The sweet face of HIV

Her sultry voice, a pouty smile and luscious curves made her a star of the platinum selling girl band No Angels. Her face was splashed on magazine covers and red carpet events.  Now she is commanding international attention as the shocking face of HIV. Her name is Nadja Benaissa. On April 11th 2009, she was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm by failing to disclose her HIV status to sexual partners. In a Darmstadt courtroom, on August 16th 2010, she released a statement apologizing for infecting her partners.

Staring at her big brown eyes, I am dumbfounded. She is gorgeous and looks as healthy as anyone in my Facebook entourage. My initial reaction of shock clearly betrays the misleading assumption that people with HIV should look emaciated and sickly.  A friend known for his promiscuity and his preference of unprotected sex, explained to me that by looking at a girl, you can tell whether she has HIV or not. Really??

28year old Nadja who now admits that she had been ‘careless,’ first found out about being HIV positive during a pregnancy screening at the age of 17.  She had been living on the streets since the age of 12 and by 14, she was addicted to crack cocaine. 4 years later she became part of one of Germany’s most successful girl groups. She did not tell her band mates or a string of sexual partners that she was an HIV carier. A former lover known only as Ralph S. is the only person she is known to have infected.

In Toronto, a 32year old man pleaded guilty to 15 counts of aggravated sexual assault after he neglected to disclose his HIV status to his sexual partners. 5 of the 15 women are now HIV-positive.

An advocate specializing in HIV prosecutions commented on the Benaissa trial by stating that the other party also has a responsibility to protect themselves sexually.  He concluded that laws of HIV transmission may do more harm than good. With the advance of medicine, HIV carriers are expected to live a long and normal life. As Nadja Benaissa breaks down in her courtroom stand, my heart goes out to her.  But does she deserve society’s support, or is she a black widow? 

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  1. She might look like an angel but she has a wicked heart

  2. This is very sad i must say. I think she should have disclosd it to the partners. Or if she didnt want to disclose it then she should have protected the others by not having unprotected sex. I do feel sorry for her tho but that doesnt make what she did right

  3. It is a difficult call. my heart bleeds for her but I fee even worse for her victims

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