16 August 2010

HIV pop star in court for infection claims

She had unprotected sex with a man whilst knowing she was HIV-positive: this is the claim No Angels star Nadja Benaissa will face at the beginning of her trial in Germany.


She had unprotected sex with a man whilst knowing she was HIV-positive: this is the claim million-selling No Angels star Nadja Benaissa will face on Monday, at the beginning of her trial in Germany.

Benaissa shot to stardom in 2000, after the group won the talent show Popstars.

No Angels went on to sell more than 5 million records and earn the billing as the "biggest-selling German girlband to date," with hits such as Daylight in Your Eyes and Eurythmics cover There Must be an Angel.

The charges, of one count of dangerous bodily harm and four counts of attempted dangerous bodily harm, date back to the period between 2000 and 2004, as the band was in the early years of its success.

Not informing partners of HIV status

Benaissa, the daughter of a Moroccan father and a German-Roma woman, is accused of not informing her partners of her HIV status.

She faces between 6 months and ten years in prison if convicted.

Nadja, who was 17 at the time of the earliest accusation, has an 11- year-old daughter.

Benaissa was arrested in April 2009, as she was about to go onstage in a Frankfurt nightclub, and spent 10 days in custody.

A man, not named for legal reasons, who has been confirmed as being HIV-positive, is a co-claimant, alleging that it was Benaissa who infected him.

Aids charity gala

In November, Benaissa garnered public sympathy when she attended an Aids charity gala in Berlin, and declared "My name is Nadja Benaissa, I'm 27 years old, I have a daughter - and I'm HIV positive."

The defence team and the singer have refrained from giving statements to the media in advance of the trial, which is scheduled to run over five days.

Nadja has not said whether or not she will plead guilty to the charges.

Benaissa's co-band members Sandy Moelling, Jessica Wahls and Lucy Diakovska are also to testify during the proceedings.

'Looking forward to the future'

The singer has not yet developed the symptoms of Aids, the immune-system disease that can result from HIV infection.

On a radio program in December she said "I hope that nothing bad is going to happen, and I'm looking forward to the future. I believe that I'm going to grow old." - (Joachim Baier, Jeff Black/Sapa/dpa, August 2010)

Read more:

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Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl qualified at the University of Pretoria in 2005. She is a patients' rights activist and loves using social media to teach about HIV. She is in private practice in Johannesburg.

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