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Man Gets 21 Years For HIV Exposure

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A former government worker who had sex with women and teenage girls without warning them he had the AIDS virus was sent to prison by a judge who labeled him a "violent, self-absorbed outlaw."

Sundiata Basir, 34, who once served as an assistant to a deputy mayor in Washington, was sentenced to 21 years and eight months by District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Robert I. Richter on Thursday. The judge sad Basir "knowingly put uncountable people at grave risk."

Prosecutors said Basir learned he was HIV-positive in January 1996 but had unprotected sex with at least seven partners over the years, never telling them about his illness. When some of them asked, he lied.

Four women and girls who had sexual relations with Basir later discovered they had AIDS.

Among the victims was a 15-year-old girl and Basir's wife, who was then 17. Basir pleaded guilty to first-degree child sexual abuse in the former case, and second degree cruelty to children in the latter. He also pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated assault in the case of a woman he had a long-term relationship with who later became HIV-positive.

Prosecutors fear there may be other women who had sex with Basir and are unknowingly spreading the virus themselves. One in 20 residents of Washington, D.C., is infected with the AIDS virus. That is the highest rate of the disease in the United States.

Prosecutors say Basir ignored requests from his victims to use a condom and the advice of his sister, a doctor, who warned him that he would transmit the disease if he didn't take precautions.

Basir has seven children with six women and girls, prosecutors said. None of the children has yet tested positive for the HIV virus which causes AIDS.

Basir worked from 1999 until 2002 as an executive assistant for Carolyn N. Graham, who was deputy mayor in charge of social services.

Graham told the Washington Post in a story published Friday that Basir was "brilliant" and a "trusted" aide. She said his medical condition and private life were unknown to his colleagues.

Defense attorneys said Basir was a standout high school and college student who suffered from mental illness and was in denial about having AIDS.