It is a common belief in many countries around the world that HIV was developed by the American government. Nowhere has this belief affected so many lives than in Libya, where leader Muammar al-Gaddafi has publicly stated this belief and used it to the detriment of foreign workers in the country.

Gaddafi, who has held power in Libya since 1969 and is known as "Brother Leader and Guide of the Revolution," was quoted at the 2001 African summit on HIV/AIDS as saying that the HIV/AIDS crisis started when "CIA laboratories lost control over the virus which they were testing on black Haitian prisoners." Gaddafi has also blamed the CIA, as well as Israel's MOSSAD, for involvement in an ongoing case in Libya involving more than 400 children infected by HIV in a Libyan hospital.

The case, often referred to as the "Benghazi Six," involves a Palestinian doctor and five Bulgarian nurses held responsible for an eruption of HIV at the El-Fath Children's Hospital in Benghazi, Libya, despite the fact that scientific evidence has been found proving that the majority of children were infected prior to the foreign workers' arrival. Though the case has reached the courthouse several times, the most recent verdict, issued on December 19, 2006, sentenced the doctor and nurses to death.

Although the case has received surprisingly little attention in the United States, it prompted a campaign in Europe against Libya's policies, which in turn outraged the Arab Maghreb Union, which has called on all countries, especially European ones, to "adopt a positive attitude to the case of the medics sentenced to death and the HIV-infected children with a view to human and legal aspects of the issue, and lay aside [politicization]."

Currently the case is under appeal; the Bulgarian nurses filed on February 18, 2007. It remains unseen whether or not the Libyan court will accept the scientific evidence or continue to support beliefs that the Bulgarian, American, and Israeli governments are intent on infecting Libyans with HIV.

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