Not only did he lie about his H.I.V., he was also married and had infected his wife as well.
A 34-year-old Houston man charged with aggravated assault was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Waiving a jury trial, Karim Zakikhani pleaded guilty to knowingly infecting his former girlfriend with H.I.V., according to court records.
In April 2014, Sarita Anderson came down with flu-like symptoms. From there, her hair started falling out and she began rapidly losing weight. After thrush – a fungal infection – was found in her mouth during a dental checkup, Anderson was referred to another doctor.
That’s when she received the shocking news: she was H.I.V. positive.
Anderson was Zakikhani’s girlfriend. The couple, who began dating in September 2013, met at a hospital where they both worked security. Anderson asked Zakikhani to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases before they had unprotected sex.
Zakikhani told her that no sexually transmittable diseases had been found in his exam.
“No, I never asked for any paperwork… I just took his word for it, as he took mine,” Anderson told KPRC in 2016.
According to medical records Anderson provided, she had not been diagnosed with or treated for H.I.V. prior to September 2013. Zakikhani, on the other hand, had lied about his H.I.V. status. Officers indicated that Zakikhani tested positive years before.
“With the medical records, we were able to determine that the defendant was infected in March 2008,” said Office Waldie of the Houston Police Department Family Crime Violence Office.
But that wasn’t the only shocking news Anderson received. Court documents stated that she found out Zakikhani was married during the time of their relationship. According to the documents, Anderson spoke with the wife, who confirmed that she had been infected with H.I.V. by Zakikhani in 2009 and that Zakikhani had known he was H.I.V. positive all along.
After the initial story was reported by Houston’s KPRC, Anderson said at least eight other women came forward stating Zakikhani had infected them with H.I.V. as well. She was, however, the only victim named in this case.
“I call it my tragedy, the testimony, how I had to dig myself out of that hole and basically, I feel like the old me died, but I worked real hard to rebirth a new person and I feel like that person is better,” said Anderson. “You don’t know how strong you can be until you have no choice but to be strong.”
The charge Zakikhani pleaded guilty to is a first-degree felony. He reportedly held his head down while the judge gave the sentence.
“He may have given me something that I’ll live with lifelong physically, but he won’t have me mentally for a lifetime,” said Anderson in court. I won’t be mentally imprisoned by this.”
Zakikhani and Anderson also have a two-year-old son together.