By Julian Pecquet - 05/18/11 07:37 PM EDT
Media speculation that the woman accusing International Monetary Fund Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault could have HIV or AIDS is "disturbing" and "irrelevant," the National Minority AIDS Council said Wednesday.
The statement follows a New York Post report that said the Sofitel maid lived in a Bronx apartment rented exclusively for adults with HIV or AIDS. The woman, whom the U.S. media are not identifying, says Strauss-Kahn forced her to perform oral sex, an act that can lead either party to contract HIV.
"Speculation of this sort only serves to further stigmatize those living with HIV, and may discourage other victims of sexual violence from speaking up," said Daniel Montoya, the council's deputy executive director. "It is difficult enough for rape victims to confront their attackers without having to worry about whether their sexual history or HIV status will become fodder for newspapers."
"All victims of sexual violence," Montoya added, "should be praised for their bravery and resilience, not exposed to pointless conjecture and gossip."
A grand jury is expected to decide Friday whether there is enough evidence to pursue a criminal trial against Strauss-Kahn, once considered a favorite to become France's president next year.