26 May 2009

PNG court fines man over abusive AIDS test comments

2:09 pm on 26 May 2009

In a landmark ruling for Papua New Guinea, a man has been convicted for publicly abusing his former girlfriend for taking an AIDS test.

The Tabubil District court in Western Province ordered Rimux Tutupsel to pay 740 US dollars after he pleaded guilty to unlawfully stigmatising a girl for taking an HIV/AIDS test.

In what is believed to be the first such conviction, the magistrate said the woman should not be shamed for doing the honourable thing.

He said whether she was found to be positive or negative is a matter entirely within the confidence of her and those at the hospital.

The schoolgirl, who has started a new relationship, went for a check-up having ended a three-month affair with married Tutupsel.

Last month, police arrested him outside Tabubil Hospital when he began shouting abuse about his former lover, saying she couldn't go to school for three weeks because she was sick with AIDS.

It's estimated two per cent of PNG's population is infected with HIV/AIDS, affecting between 40,000 to 60,000 people.