A Texas man is suspected of intentionally infecting his sexual partners with HIV.
Karim “Tyson” Zakikhani is charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly infecting his ex-girlfriend, Sarita Anderson, with HIV some time around 2013 when the two were intimate, according to KPRC.
After the news station aired a report about the incident, four more people say they believe they could have been infected by Zakikhani.
Prosecutors say Zakikhani's medical records show he was diagnosed with HIV in 2008. But Zakikhani said he never got the results of the test and even made follow-up calls to get the results, but never received them.
“This makes me seem like I’m the worst person in the world. I am not,” he told KPRC in an interview from jail.
Anderson said she began getting sick in April 2014.
“It just felt like a bad flu, and I went to the hospital," she said said. "I thought that my weight loss was because I wasn't eating like I should because it hurt to eat. It hurt to digest."
In September 2014, Anderson learned that she was HIV-positive.
The news was shocking because she had an STD test done the previous year and was negative. And since then, her only partner Zakikhani, who told her he had recently had an STD test and was negative, as well.
"I just took his word for it, as he took mine,” Anderson said.
Anderson and Zakikhani have an 11-month-old son together. The child does not have HIV, reports KPRC.
It's not clear what took so long for Zakikhani to be arrested, but he now remains in jail in lieu of $30,000 bail and faces five to 99 years in prison if convicted. In the meantime, police urge anyone who might have been intimate with Zakikhani to come forward.
“I believe, based on tips that we have, that there's more victims," said Officer Waldie, with Houston Police Department Family Crime Violence Office. "That he had other relationships during this time from 2008 until present. We just need y'all to come in, talk to me and we can speak about everything in detail and see if this is something that should require a charge against the defendant. The manner in which the defendant was acting was totally intentionally giving victims a virus that could be fatal. It's very serious. It could lead to other infections. It could lead to deaths. That's very important for us to stop that before it gets worse."