An Egyptian judicial official says four HIV-positive men have been convicted of being homosexual and sentenced to three years in prison followed by three years of close police supervision.

The official says on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the press that a fifth man without HIV was also convicted and received the same sentence.

The defense lawyer for the five, Adel Ramadan, says the judge convicted the men of the "habitual practice of debauchery," a term used in the Egyptian legal system to denote consensual homosexual acts.

More than 100 human rights groups have slammed the trial and described it as mainly driven by ignorance and fear of AIDS, warning that it could undermine HIV/AIDS prevention effort in Egypt.