Click here to watch this story(Windows Media)
Former Huron University basketball star Nikko Briteramos says he was afraid. Afraid that his friends would desert him and his girlfriend would leave him if he told them he has the virus that causes AIDS.
A judge gave him a second chance and suspended all but four months of jail time so he could stay in school. But when Briteramos went to register for class, he was gone for 5-hours and tested positive for marijuana when he came back to jail. So today, the same judge was not so lenient.
Nikko Briteramos says the probation violation is over a big misunderstanding. But judge Tim Tucker ignored the excuses and sentenced Briteramos to four years in prison. Now Briteramos reflects on his mistakes and his life with HIV.
Briteramos has had a lot of time to think about the mistakes he's made over the past six months. Mistakes he freely admits. "I'd just like to say I apologize for being a sinner of such big hysteria across South Dakota and across Huron."
Hoping to one day graduate Huron University, Briteramos says he was happy in the small community but now feels they won't give him another chance.
Nikko says, "Everything was perfect up until this point and all of a sudden I became so infamous that I wasn't even on the same level with anyone anymore."
Briteramos explains why he exposed his girlfriend to HIV. "The main thing that, that really got me to the point of putting someone else at risk was the fear of being ostracized simply because you let someone know that you have a virus of that proportion."
Now he's glad the trial is over and he's ready to serve his time.
"Hopefully this all works out and I won't be slowed down by the extent of where I'm an old man trying to pursue my education."
Briteramos will spend tonight at the state penitentiary in Sioux Falls. He will be eligible for parole in one to two years.
© 2002 Associated Press.