Singer avoids jail over hiv infection

A singer in a German girl band avoided jail yesterday after she was convicted of causing bodily harm to her ex-boyfriend by having unprotected sex with him, despite knowing she was infected with HIV.

Nadja Benaissa, 28, broke down in tears after she was given a two-year suspended prison sentence and ordered to carry out 300 hours of community service after she was convicted in a Darmstadt administrative court.

She had faced a possible 10 years behind bars.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The court ruled that Benaissa had infected a former boyfriend with the virus that causes Aids by having unprotected sex with him.

Benaissa helped her case during the trial, which began on August 16, by acknowledging she had unprotected sex despite knowing she was HIV-positive and saying it was a big mistake.

“I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart,” Benaissa said, adding that she had realised how much her ex-boyfriend was still suffering.

The man who claimed Benaissa infected him said they had a three-month relationship at the beginning of 2004 and that he got tested after Benaissa’s aunt asked him in 2007 whether he was aware that the singer was HIV positive.

Benaissa said she did not tell anybody about her disease because she was afraid of the consequences – which she described during the trial as a “cowardly act”.

Benaissa told the court she became addicted to crack cocaine at 14 and that during her pregnancy at the age of 16 she found she was HIV positive.

After winning a TV talent show, in 2000 she joined the band No Angels with four other women and hid her illness from everyone. No Angels sold more than five million albums before breaking up in 2003. They re-formed in 2007.