File photo: Independent Media.

Rome - An Italian man who contracted the HIV virus and passed it on to women he slept with was convicted Thursday of voluntary manslaughter and causing serious injuries and jailed for 16 years and eight months.

Claudio Pinti, 35, was tried by a court in Ancona, the ANSA news agency said. His lawyers are considering whether to appeal, it added.

The man was arrested last year after one of his victims reported him to police. She was a plaintiff in the trial. Another one, said to have been Pinti's full-time girlfriend, died in June 2017, ANSA said.

Pinti has declared himself a "negationist" on the existence of HIV, which is known to cause acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Life expectancy for HIV/AIDS patients has greatly increased in recent years, but the disease is still a major cause of death.

When they arrested him in 2018, police described Pinti as a regular user of dating websites who could have infected more than 200 people, having had HIV for more than 10 years. But his trial hinged on only two documented cases.

dpa