S.D. college student pleads guilty in AIDS case that spread fear

By Joe Kafka, The Associated Press
Friday July 12, 2002

HURON, S.D. — An HIV-infected college student whose arrest on charges of having unprotected sex with a woman spread fear on campus and prompted the testing of hundreds of people for AIDS pleaded guilty Thursday and could get up to 15 years in prison. 

Nikko Briteramos, a 19-year-old SiTanka-Huron University basketball player from Chicago, is the first person prosecuted in South Dakota under a 2000 law against knowingly exposing someone to the AIDS virus. 

Sentencing was set for Aug. 20. In return for his guilty plea, two other charges involving the same woman were dropped. 

Prosecutors said Briteramos had learned in March after donating blood that he was HIV-positive, and had unprotected sex with the woman in April. 

Health officials became alarmed when Briteramos and three other people in and around Huron, a town of 12,000, were diagnosed with the AIDS virus. He was arrested in April. 

Because Briteramos reported multiple sex partners and many of those people also had several partners, 237 people were tested for the AIDS virus. The woman has tested negative for HIV, prosecutors said. 

“This plea bargain protects the victim from ever having to testify in open court,” prosecutor Mike Moore said.