An HIV-positive man has been arrested in India’s western state of Gujarat after his wife accused him of concealing his disease for over four years, police said on Wednesday.
Police arrested Harish Kantharia at his home in the city of Surat and have charged him with committing a “negligent act that could endanger life”.
“I went for a routine gynaecological test during my pregnancy and medical reports revealed that I am HIV positive,” said Kantharia’s second wife, Lata, who then forced her husband to take blood tests.
Police officer R. S. Patel said Kantharia had confessed.
“He admitted that he (knew he) was infected by the deadly virus but he hid it from the complainant and even from his first wife who died due to AIDS.”
Lata, who married Kantharia in May 2002, plans to seek compensation for herself and her unborn child.
AIDS workers praised her defiance.
“This is a rare case as Indian women, who are mostly infected by their husbands, never muster the courage to file a criminal complaint despite the fact that they are cheated by their husbands,” said Dr. Anil Dhaval of the Gujarat HIV+ Society.
India is second only to South Africa in the size of its HIV-positive population, with officially more than 5.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS.
Half of them are women often infected by husbands who visit sex workers. Non-government organisations say true infection rates are much higher.
Revision date: June 22, 2011
Last revised: by Jorge P. Ribeiro, MD