A Texas man who admitted to purposefully infecting his girlfriend with HIV was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Wednesday.
The Fort Worth Star Telegram reported that Karim “Tyson” Zakikhani, 34, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury for infecting then-girlfriend Sarita Anderson with the virus. The pair had started dating in 2013; Zakikhani was diagnosed in 2008.
In December 2013, Anderson asked Zakikhani to get tested before they had unprotected sex. Anderson told Zakikhani that she was negative—and her boyfriend told her the same, according to a complaint obtained by the newspaper.
Anderson told KPRC in 2016 that she never saw the paperwork as she “took his word for it.”
Anderson reportedly realized something was wrong in April 2014 when she began losing and kept getting sick. Sixty-five pounds down, the news station reported that a doctor confirmed the following September that she was HIV-positive.
She was in for another shock around that time: Zakikhani was married.
Anderson contacted the wife, who reportedly told her that Zakikhani had given her the virus in 2009. According to the Star Telegram, the wife also revealed that he had known about his diagnosis since 2008.
Further, Anderson claimed at least eight women have come forward to accuse Zakikhani of infecting them with HIV. However, Zakikhani was only prosecuted for Anderson’s case, according to KPRC.
Anderson and Zakikhani share a 3-year-old son. It’s unclear whether Anderson transmitted HIV to her baby.
Nevertheless, Anderson recently told KPRC that she’s committed to being the best mother she can be to her son.
“He may have given me something that I’ll live with lifelong physically, but he won’t have me mentally for a lifetime. I won’t be mentally imprisoned by this,” she said.
[Featured image: Karim Zakikhani/Houston Police Department]