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German pop singer tried over HIV allegation

By Associated Press
Monday, August 16, 2010 12:03 EDT
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No Angels star claims ‘success’ made her ‘lose control’ and have unprotected sex even though she knew she was infected

A German singer facing accusations that she infected a man with the virus that causes AIDS acknowledged in court Monday that she had unprotected sex despite knowing she was HIV-positive.

“At the start of the trial, Benaissa pleaded guilty to causing dangerous bodily harm by knowingly having unprotected sex despite being HIV positive,” DPA reports.

Benaissa told the court she had simply ‘lost control’ of her life at the time.

‘I was overwhelmed with the success of No Angels,’ she said. The band shot to stardom after winning the Popstars contest in 2000, and went on to sell more than 5 million records.

The singer said she had been ‘totally shocked’ by the HIV- positive result, which she learnt of in 1999, before the band’s spectacular entry to the music scene.

‘I couldn’t tell anyone. I was terribly afraid,’ she told the court, adding that she feared her HIV status would affect the band’s success.

The 28-year-old Nadja Benaissa, a member of German girl band No Angels, is charged with grievous bodily harm for allegedly infecting a partner with the virus in 2004 and also faces charges of attempted bodily harm for having unprotected sex with two other men.

“I am sorry from my heart,” she said in a statement read by her lawyer to the Darmstadt administrative court. “No way did I want my partner to be infected.”

The man who claims Benaissa infected him says 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.

Prosecutors say Benaissa had known she was HIV-positive since 1999.

Benaissa was arrested in April 2009 and kept in custody for 10 days — a move that a German AIDS awareness group criticized as disproportionate. The Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe group argued that the question of whether her partners also carried a share of the responsibility had been neglected.

Benaissa joined No Angels in 2000 through the TV casting show “Popstars.” The group sold more than 5 million albums before breaking up in 2003.

Benaissa helped reform the group in 2007 with three other members. The group represented Germany in the 2008 Eurovision song contest.

Source: AP News

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