• RT @KELINKenya: Here is summary of the exciting judicial workshop on #TBRights @StopTB @HIVLawCom @SECTION27news @… 28 Jun 2016
  • RT @_ARASAcomms: Our partner @HIVJusticeNet 28 Jun 2016
  • RT @_ARASAcomms: We agree, and they negatively impact people's human rights and access to health care #HIVisnotacrime #Decrim4Health https:… 28 Jun 2016
  • RT @AJStream: What impact do laws criminalising HIV have on those living with the virus? #HIVCriminalization 27 Jun 2016
  • RT @_ARASAcomms: If you want to be part of the show on why #HIVisnotacrime share your thoughts ahead of the show @AJStream #AJStream https:… 27 Jun 2016
  • Looking forward to joining @michaelaarasa @kenpinkela and Anand Grover of @LCHIVWRI to discuss HIV criminalisation 27 Jun 2016
  • On @AJStream today 1930GMT: Are you living with HIV? How do HIV criminalisation laws impact you or your community? 27 Jun 2016
  • On @AJStream 1930GMT: Criminalising HIV To learn more about HIV criminalisation visit 27 Jun 2016
  • HIV JUSTICE NETWORK explains why #HIVisnotacrime today, June 27 3:30PM EST / 8.30PM UK LIVE on @AJStream Send your questions to #AJStream 27 Jun 2016
  • US: Second #HIVisnotacrime meeting creates important intersectional shift in anti-HIV criminalisation movement 27 Jun 2016
  • Zimbabwe S79 ruling suggests people with HIV can be discriminated against if the reason is to protect public health. Shame! #hivisnotacrime 16 Jun 2016
  • Zimbabwe ruling upholds the only defence to S79 as disclosure of known or suspected HIV-positive status which trumps any right to privacy. 16 Jun 2016
  • BREAKING NEWS Zimbabwe: Challenge to HIV-specific criminal law, Section 79, rejected by Constitutional Court. 16 Jun 2016
  • RT @Matthew_Hodson: Man sentenced for killing his partner after learning he was #HIV. Fear & ignorance was fatal. We must #StopHIVstigma ht… 10 Jun 2016
  • @paulkidd @LaurelDSprague Here is the video of Australia condemning HIV criminalisation at #HLM2016AIDS yesterday 09 Jun 2016
  • Exclusion kills! @UNAIDS @UN #HLM2016AIDS #HIVisnotacrime #HIVJUSTICEWORLDWIDE 09 Jun 2016
  • A high-level failure @UN @UNAIDS #HLM2016AIDS #HIVisnotacrime #HIVJUSTICEWORLDWIDE 09 Jun 2016
  • RT @LaurelDSprague: Ending AIDS means ending punitive laws and policies that affect access to services - Ban Ki Moon #hivjusticenet https:/… 08 Jun 2016
  • RT @HIVpxresearch: EMERGENCY ACTION! Join us today outside at the United Nations at 1pm! 08 Jun 2016
  • Russia - the country with the most HIV-related prosecutions globally. #hivisnotacrime 08 Jun 2016

We have asked whether criminal laws and prosecutions represent sound policy responses to conduct that carries the risk of HIV transmission. On the one hand, it is obviously reprehensible for a person knowingly to infect another with HIV or any other life-endangering health condition. On the other hand, using criminal sanctions for conduct other than clearly intentional transmission may well infringe upon human rights and undermine important public policy objectives. We accept that the use of criminal law may be warranted in some circumstances, such as in cases of intentional transmission of HIV or as an aggravating factor in cases of rape and defilement. Individual parliaments will determine the specific circumstances, depending on their local context. Before rushing to legislate, however, we should give careful consideration to the fact that passing HIV-specific criminal legislation can: further stigmatize persons living with HIV; provide a disincentive to HIV testing; create a false sense of security among people who are HIV-negative; and, rather than assisting women by protecting them against HIV infection, impose on them an additional burden and risk of violence or discrimination. In addition, there is no evidence that criminal laws specific to HIV transmission will make any significant impact on the spread of HIV or on halting the epidemic. Therefore, priority must be given to increasing access to comprehensive and evidence-informed prevention methods in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Paragraphs 15-18, First Global Parliamentary Meeting on HIV/AIDS. Final Conclusions: criminalization of transmission, 2007.1

The pursuit of justice can sometimes conflict with other important policy goals. Debates about whether or not potential or actual HIV exposure or transmission should be within the purview of the criminal justice system often hinge on the question of what impact laws and prosecutions may have on a wide range of people and on the course of the epidemic itself. A close examination of the intended and unintended consequences of such criminalisation, from both a public health and human rights perspective, raises vital questions that should be considered by everyone with a stake in the matter.

It is hoped that the information provided in this book will allow for the criminal justice system to be fair and rational in dealing with individuals living with HIV, and that policy influencers and policymakers, including parliamentarians, use this information to pass (or repeal) laws that work towards mitigating the impacts of the HIV pandemic, and advance universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support.


  1. First Global Parliamentary Meeting on HIV/AIDS Parliaments and Leadership in combating HIV/AIDS. Manila, Philippines, November 2007
This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.