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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 August, 2004, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
'HIV groom' sues Tanzania hospital
By Vicky Ntetema
BBC correspondent in Dar es Salaam

Ramadhani Kaya says he was wrongly diagnosed as HIV positive
Mr Kaya says his life has been ruined by the diagnosis
A Tanzanian man, who claims a wrong HIV diagnosis wrecked his wedding, has sued the hospital responsible for $50,000.

Ramadhani Kaya was about to go on his honeymoon when he received his positive tests results.

Mr Kaya, who says he is a very "religious" man and could not have HIV/Aids, retook the test three times elsewhere with negative results.

But his wife's family did not believe the new results and she returned to stay with them.

The hospital refuses to comment on the case until an internal investigation is completed.

'Rumours'

Mr Kaya heard the bad news about his HIV status following a voluntary Aids test he and his wife had a few hours before consummating their marriage.

I now understand what people with HIV/Aids are going through in society... they are stigmatised.
Ramadhani Kaya
The couple had gone for a fast track test in Dar es Salaam after pressure from the bride's relatives, following what Mr Kaya describes as "rumours" that he had the disease.

On being informed that he was infected with HIV, his wife was sent back to her relatives and Mr Kaya started the long journey to clear his name.

He decided to do the tests all over again at three different institutions - a local NGO HIV/Aids counselling centre, an international HIV/Aids centre and a government referral hospital.

Mr Kaya claims that after all three reputable health centres showed that he was HIV negative, and he then asked the first hospital to change the results which they had given him last October.

But according to Mr Kaya the hospital authorities turned down his request since they claim he did not ask them to repeat the test.

'Sleepless nights'

Mr Kaya cannot live with his wife because the relatives are not satisfied with the other negative results.

He says that there is no amount of money that can compensate for what he has lost.

"I have sleepless nights... I have lost my business and my wife. Her relatives don't want me near her," Mr Kaya said.

The $50,000 may pay for his lost business, but it is not going to rebuild his reputation in the society where people with HIV/Aids are still stigmatised.

"I now understand what people with HIV/Aids are going through in society... they are stigmatised... I am stigmatised," he said.

Mr Kaya says that he has been forced to take legal action because the hospital has refused to settle the matter out of court.

HIV/Aids tests are not compulsory in Tanzania, but there is a campaign advising people to have one before getting married.




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