A group of Durban women have got together to stop an HIV-infected sexual predator from spreading the virus after they tested positive – and they’re going public on Carte Blanche on Sunday night with their revelations.
According to the women, who had either casual encounters or a relationship with the same man, he did not advise any of them of his HIV-positive status.
When confronted by one of his former partners with regard to contacting other women with whom he had sexual encounters, he replied: “I can’t remember half the women I’ve been with.”
The women have said they are taking legal steps to pursue the matter and are speaking out to warn other women.
Human Rights lawyer Richard Spoor said an HIV-positive person having unprotected sex without informing his partner of his status is “reprehensible behaviour”.
It could amount to a murder charge, should the partner subsequently die, or the perpetrator could be charged with either attempted murder or assault to do grievous bodily harm, if the partner survived.
In the US on Wednesday, former wrestler Andre Davis, 29, was sentenced to 32 years in prison for having sex with women without telling them he was HIV-positive.
Speaking out this week, Cindy Pivacic said she first met “Mr X”, who worked for a local company, through friends in 2004.
She described him as about 14 years younger than herself and “a real charmer”. It was not long before he moved into her home.
She said while they were living together, she took him to hospital for abdominal problems.
“He told me he was going for an Aids test – I could not believe this could be happening.”
The result was positive and Pivacic said she also tested positive.
“There are three women that I know of, who had encounters with him after me, who are now all positive and they can prove they were negative when they met him.
“It seems he did not tell any of them about his status,” she said.
Since being diagnosed, Pivacic said she has suffered from TB meningitis, has had two strokes, a rare form of glandular cancer and shingles.
“I learnt how to manage my health, CD4 count and viral load. But the stigma needs to be removed.
“It’s like you are a leper.”
Pivacic said she completely withdrew from the social scene in Durban’s highway area and started a support group, as there was little or no support for HIV-positive people.
Two other women approached the support group and soon identified this man as their common link.
In 2007, Joy McDonald was looking after her sister’s house, when “Mr X” arrived to do repairs.
“He came back to visit me one night during that week for supper and unfortunately for me, we had unprotected sex.
“He never mentioned that he is HIV-positive. I saw him once more that week,” said McDonald.
Four months later she was diagnosed as HIV-positive.
“I was angry. He preys on anyone he can get his hands on. He doesn’t give people choices.
“He doesn’t care,” she said.
The third woman, who asked that her name be withheld to protect her child, said she met “Mr X” in a pub in 2006.
“It was a casual encounter, a kind of ‘friends with benefits’, but it was a fatal error,” she said.
She was diagnosed as HIV positive in July 2007 following an insurance medical check.
“I contacted him and asked him if he was HIV positive and he said he was not.
“I also said he must tell everybody to have a test. But he was nonchalant about the whole issue and said he doesn’t remember half the women he has been with anyway,” she said.
The woman went on to anti-retro viral treatment in 2008, but said: “I will never have another normal relationship again.
“It’s very difficult to say to someone I have a disease,” she said.
In all three cases, the women were older than Mr “X”.
On Friday night, Mr “X” responded angrily. He said he was in a stable relationship and had a child.
“Cindy and I found out about our status at the same time, after I’d been in hospital for a stomach operation.
“Our relationship was on and off, both of us seeing other people, so how can anybody prove I infected anybody.
“I don’t know any woman called Joy, but I think these women used to all drink at the same bar and now they are just jumping on the bandwagon.”
But Pivacic said she wanted to alert other people to the risk they were taking.
“It’s frightening. HIV is rife in the social scene. People are too trusting and don’t really believe they can get it.
“And it doesn’t matter if you are divorced, married or single. I can tell you, nobody really knows what their partner is doing and nobody is safe,” said Pivacic.
The full interview will be on Carte Blanche at 7pm on Sunday.
Cindy Pivacic can be contacted on 073 739 6044.
- Independent on Saturday