Woman Breastfeeds Friend’s Child

In a shocking case of child abuse, a 23-year-old Harare woman is accused of deliberately infecting her friend’s 10 month-old son with HIV after breastfeeding the baby in an effort to silence it after it started crying.

The child had been left in the woman’s custody while the mother was doing her daily errands.

The woman, whose name has been withheld for legal reasons, appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court recently charged with deliberate transmission of HIV.

She was not asked to plead to the charges when she initially appeared before magistrate, Mrs Sharon Rakafa on September 21. The 23-year-old was initially charged with ill-treatment of a minor under the Children’s Act.

State counsel, Mrs Locadia Rasonza, said sometime in August this year, the baby’s mother took it to her friend for custody whilst she was away. It is said the child started crying while playing with other children and the woman took the baby and started breastfeeding it in full view of other children, the court heard.

Allegations are that the woman knew that she was HIV positive. Another child is said to have revealed the incident to the boy’s mother who reported to the police.

The woman is on $500 bail and is expected back in court on October 19 for trial.

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