A Kenyan man has been directed to pay a substantial fine of 850,000 shillings (equivalent to $5,600 or £4,400) for disclosing his friend's alleged HIV status within a WhatsApp group.
The pivotal judgment emanated from the esteemed HIV and Aids Tribunal in Kenya, which underscored the critical principle that an individual's HIV status must not be divulged to external parties without securing appropriate consent.
The plaintiff asserted that the repercussions of the message circulated within the WhatsApp group, comprising a sizable membership of 170 individuals, were both alarming and distressing. The fallout from this disclosure led to severe discrimination he encountered, compounding the emotional distress to such an extent that he has found it necessary to engage in counselling.
Significantly, he revealed that the gravity of the accusation extended to negatively impacting his marital relationship, creating a profound rift.
Moreover, he staunchly denies the veracity of the disclosed information as presented within the confines of the contentious WhatsApp group.
In a bid to address the multifaceted harm inflicted, the man has also been granted a sum of 3,000 KE shillings, designated as special damages.
This landmark ruling not only exemplifies the far-reaching consequences of indiscreet information sharing within digital platforms but also highlights the gravity with which institutions such as the HIV and Aids Tribunal in Kenya regard matters of personal privacy and responsible communication.