A legal aid group says a court in Namibia has ruled that the government there sterilized three women infected with HIV without getting proper consent.

The Southern Africa Litigation Centre said Monday that the Namibia High Court ruling will see monetary damages awarded to the three women affected. The center said the court ruling found the government forced women into agreeing to the procedure while they were in severe pain or in labor.

The lawsuit, filed in 2010, comes as activists say that other HIV-infected women have been coerced into being sterilized.

UNAIDS estimates there are some 180,000 people living with HIV in Namibia, a country of 2.1 million people.

Sterilization is a drastic tactic to treat HIV-positive women, as mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS can be prevented with medication

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