Reykjavík police say they have enough reason to believe that the man arrested last week for allegedly transmitting the HIV virus to women did indeed know he had the disease.
Chief epidemiologist Haraldur Briem told mbl that although he and his department are involved in the investigation, it was entirely a police decision to apply for the man to be remand in custody for four weeks while the investigation continues.
The man and his lawyer appealed the Reykjavík District Court custody decision to the Supreme Court of Iceland, but the decision was upheld, so the man remains behind bars until mid-August.
Haraldur says he has found no record of the man having been through a medical examination in Iceland, despite being an asylum seeker in the country.
Asylum seekers are not forced to have a medical exam or present a medical certificate; although they do need to be examined by a doctor when applying for a residence permit.
As people intending to apply for a residency permit to live and work in Iceland need to do so within two weeks of arrival, this effectively means everyone except those invited to the country by the government for political or human rights reasons.
Haraldur says the rules are being re-examined to make them potentially simpler in the future and to prevent cases like this happening again. He says his department has long argued that it is in everybody’s interest for all asylum seekers and refugees to have a medical exam, no matter how they ended up in Iceland. “This medical exam in itself has nothing to do with whether people live here or not. But we want people who have some disease or other to get the treatment they need and so we can avoid the spread of infectious diseases. This would be to everyone’s benefit.”