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Man Arrested for Allegedly Passing on HIV

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Man Arrested for Allegedly Passing on HIV

Police bike

Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

A man is suspected of having infected young women with HIV. The capital area police are investigating the case against the man, who is not Icelandic, in partnership with the office of the Directorate of Health.

The man will be remanded in custody later today while the initial investigation continues, according to a police press release.

RÚV has since confirmed initial reports that the man in question is a Nigerian asylum seeker who came to Iceland last August.

The police statement says that part of the investigation includes finding out if any more women have been in contact with the man, and whether they might also be infected.

The statement talks only of a serious infectious disease, but chief epidemiologist Haraldur Briem confirmed with reporters that the man is suspected of having transmitted HIV. Neither Haraldur nor Alda Hrönn Jóhannsdóttir, deputy police chief, would discuss the case in further detail at this stage.

The HIV virus is spread through bodily fluids, including through sex and through blood—for example by sharing needles. The only protection against sexually-transmitted HIV is the use of condoms, according to the Directorate of Health.

HIV is a life-threatening illness if allowed to develop without treatment. It can develop into AIDS, which causes the immune system to shut down and lead to death; often years after initial infection. There is not yet a cure for HIV, but it is controllable with medication and infection is detected through blood tests.

Details of the man’s suspected crimes have not been released. One likely explanation for his arrest could be engaging in unprotected sex with the women without telling them he has HIV—an act which would be against the law.

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