Botswana: Woman from Zimbabwe faces ‘deliberate HIV transmission’ charge for breastfeeding neighbour’s baby

October 16, 2013

A Zimbabwean woman who breastfed a neighbour’s baby without her consent faces a possible two-year sentence for deliberately infecting another person with HIV after she tested positive. 39-year-old Annie Mpariwa appeared in a Gaborone court on Wednesday and the case was deferred to October 24 to allow a second HIV test to be done on the toddler. The child’s initial results came out negative.

Mpariwa was arrested last week on charges of common nuisance and should the child test positive, the charge will be raised to ‘deliberately infecting another person with HIV’. The mother of the 14-month old baby said seeing her child being breastfed by her neighbour was traumatising. She alleged that her neighbour snatched the child while she was playing outside and hid her in her room. After searching for the child for quite some time, she went and knocked on Mpariwa’s rented room and got no response. Upon peeping through the window, she saw her suckling the little girl.

The incident comes in the wake of a newly enacted law on HIV/AIDS that calls for stiffer penalties on people who deliberately infect others with HIV.