May 22, 2014
Nurse With HIV Gets 3 Years in Jail for Negligence in Uganda
A court has found Rosemary Namubiru, a 64-year-old HIV-positive nurse in Uganda, guilty of criminal negligence for allegedly attempting to transmit her virus to a patient, The Associated Press reports. She was sentenced to three years in jail.
Throughout the trial, Namubiru maintained her innocence. She claims that she acted with no malice when she accidentally pricked herself, but used the same needle to give an injection to a baby. She was arrested after the baby’s mother noticed.
According to court records, two HIV tests show the baby did not contract the virus. Nonetheless, prosecutors claim a crime was committed. Activists claim Namubiru should not have faced a trial, but instead a professional disciplinary hearing.
The Global Access Project, a New York–based advocacy group, further claims that stigma and discrimination are to blame for the trial. For example, some of the local media called her the “killer nurse.”
Namubiru was charged under a colonial-era law that forbids spreading a deadly disease, but lawmakers have since passed a law specifically against intentional transmission of HIV. The Ugandan president has yet to sign the bill into law.
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