A South African man was jailed for life on Thursday for raping an AIDS activist and beating her to death after she told him she was HIV positive.
Lorna Mlosana, a trainee educator with the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), South Africa’s largest AIDS lobby group, was raped in the outside toilet of a bar in Khayelitsha township, near Cape Town, in December 2003.
Her attacker, Ncedile Ntumbukane, then beat her to death in fury when she revealed she had HIV.
Ntumbukane “was sentenced to life in prison for murder”, the TAC said in a statement.
The Cape High Court also handed Ntumbukane an additional 10 years for rape, while his woman co-accused, Vuyelwa Dlova, who had kicked and punched Mlosana, was given a 10-year sentence for assault.
Activists in South Africa - which has the world’s highest number of HIV/AIDS cases with an estimated one in nine of its 45 million people infected - say the stigma associated with the killer disease is hampering efforts to fight it.
In 1998, South African AIDS activist Gugu Dlamini was killed by a mob after revealing on television she was infected with HIV.
The country’s former president Nelson Mandela was praised by activists last year when he announced that his only surviving son, Makgatho Mandela, had died of an AIDS-related illness at the age of 54.
Revision date: July 4, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD