A Malawian woman hacked her 9-year-old son to death with an axe on Friday after discovering they were both infected with HIV, police said.
Mother and son both tested positive for HIV at a hospital in the northern district of Karonga after suffering prolonged bouts of malaria, police spokesman Enoch Livason said.
“She went home and picked up an axe and started cutting her son into pieces,” Livason said in a statement. “Cries from the child attracted neighbors who stopped her and took her to police.”
Livason said the woman’s husband was thought to have died from HIV/AIDS two years ago.
Malawi, with around 11 million people, is one of the countries at the centre of the AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa, which is home to almost two thirds of those infected with HIV infection worldwide.
AIDS kills about 10 people every hour in the impoverished country, whose government estimates that around 1 million Malawians are infected with the virus and about 640,000 have already died from AIDS-related illnesses since 1985.
Revision date: June 14, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD