I'm not spreading AIDS
...insists man infected with deadly virus But deceased woman's angry relative disagrees
BY DONNA HUSSEY-WHYTE Sunday Observer staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTROVERSY now swirls around an influential member of a religious group who is accused of knowingly spreading the deadly HIV virus, which causes AIDS, to several female partners, one of whom has since died as a result of complications from the disease.
So concerned is the livid hierarchy of the Rastafarian organisation that it has scheduled a meeting with the alleged errant member when it is expected that he will be expelled from the group.
Additionally, the daughter of the woman who died from the disease and who was buried last week Sunday has been highly critical of the 'religious' man, whom she blames for the death of her mother.
However, the accused man has vehemently denied the accusations that he has been wilfully spreading the disease.
In rubbishing the claims, he acknowledged that the woman who died was the only one to have contracted the virus from him. He said that it only happened because he didn't know at the time that he was carrying the virus.
"I don't know of anybody else who can say I give it to them," he said in an interview with the Jamaica Observer on Friday.
"Because I understand certain things, I wouldn't do that. But when I was dealing with this lady, I never know that I had it," he said, looking bewildered.
"I wouldn't even try and do something like that ... to know that I have it and give her. Why would I do that as a man who has Godly fear and character," he went on.
But the daughter of the deceased woman has a different story.
"She told us that it was him who wilfully gave her the disease, because what happened is that she had one partner before and they broke up, and then she started to see him," said the 25-year-old who asked that her name be withheld. She explained what she said her mother told her that led her to believe that the infection had been intentional.
She explained that the accused was living in America and it is believed that he came to Jamaica with the virus, based upon the time that her mother contracted it.
"After a period of time, it damaged her entire kidney, damaged her liver, a whole heap of things went wrong with her, so she was on dialysis for three years," she said.
The daughter said that she is still trying to come to terms with the untimely death of her mother.
"I am really, really upset over it," she stated.
But the young lady said that her mother was stubborn, something which pushed her to an early death.
"We (family) know about it and we get her medication and stuff, but she was really reluctant to take the medications to the extent where it reach this far," she noted. "I think about it all the time. Sometimes I just say I'm leaving him to time. I just don't really understand it because his daughter came from overseas and she stayed with us, his son came and it was the same thing. We would go out and so on, so somehow I just can't believe he really did something like that," she lamented.
"Him don't care," she continued her rant, "because even in December she had this back pain and she was admitted in the hospital, and from December she don't walk and she called him and told him she wasn't walking and she needs his help and she said him say, 'Wah you want me to do? Wah you want mi to do? Mi soon dead enuh, mi soon dead'."
The young woman said that the man's absence from the funeral is an indication of his uncaring ways.
But the man told the Sunday Observer that he did not attend the funeral because he could not stand the scrutiny of the family, knowing that he was the one from whom the deceased contracted the infection, that caused her death.
Regarding the religious group with which he is affiliated, the man said that there are those within who are not on his side, and as such have resorted to speaking ill about him.
"You have some people who check for me and you have some people who don't check for me. When these things happen people just put more than what it really is to it. But mi expect that, so I don't let that bother mi," he said.
The infected man said that because of what has been happening, he seldom congregates with the group.
"When you have them thing deh, some people want to isolate you, like you are a dead person. But really and truly, I am not perfect and all of who you see talking, dem nuh short of sin and no sin nuh greater than none," he said, lashing his detractors.
"So if a man wants to condemn me, no problem, 'cause him have fi him time to," the man continued.
He said that he is now living with someone who has been supportive of his situation.
"She is very supportive of it. She does not have it, because I wouldn't be with her and just give her it. But she knows. And she is the one who is helping me with going through all that I am going through. So I am satisfied with that part of my life. I don't have to run go road go look nuh woman and a try nothing. Cause I don't even feel that way right now, not after what happen."
He said that being accused has put a strain on him.
"Everybody going to die some way or the other you know, but I cannot feel in my mind mentally to say it don't mean anything to me. It is something I have to go live with, for however long I have to live. Things like this don't just go away. It's early in terms of what happen. Is a burden on me because it's not easy. But at the same time you have to live with it, 'cause what am I going to do? Mi just a live wid it right now and a hope for the best. But it's not easy in terms of me living with something like that and with everybody accusing you and saying all kinds of things. But certain things happen and I'm really shaken up about it, so right now I just hold a vibes and go on bear my judgement," he said.
A member of the religious group said that women are to be blamed as they are not protecting themselves.
"The women are careless too, they not educating themselves on it. They just refuse to learn. I don't understand them either. It don't mark on your forehead you know. The man might look good, so you can't tell if a person have it or if they don't," the member said.
He said that members of the group are irate with the accused as they believed his action is deliberate.
"You have people who cut up too you know," the man said. "You have people who want kill the 'brethren'. But we can't really deal with it so, because you hearing say AIDS victims have rights. Is that you hear you know! So you can't just kill them," said the member who spoke on condition that his name is not mentioned in the story.
"How him feel to know say him a go 'round and a spread it? Mi feel cut up man!" Mi think if they find out that you have AIDS, the Government should have you locked away, because you eating salt and you going to have feelings and you going want to inoculate the place same way.
"So if the Government don't lock you away, you know you going to inoculate the place, 'ause people want kill him you know, but is another thing again if you go shoot him and kill him. So how it ago go? Him just a guh go round and give the woman dem it?" he said.
The man stated that in his opinion, it was a deliberate act to infect others, since the accused is not protecting the women whom he is said to be sleeping with, despite knowing that he is infected.
But, he said, the women should also be blamed.