• South Africa: First-ever successful prosecution for 'HIV exposure' upheld as attempted murder by Pretoria High Court 14 Aug 2013
  • RT @ProfWetpaint: Hep C phylogenentics in court (prosecution of anesthetist in Spain): 23 Jul 2013
  • US: House Appropriations C'ttee passes amendment that would fund review of HIV-specific criminal laws #HIVisnotacrime 19 Jul 2013
  • UK: NAT (National AIDS Trust) produces new guide for police on occupational exposure to HIV 19 Jul 2013
  • UK: NAT (National AIDS Trust) produces new guide for police on occupational exposure to HIV 19 Jul 2013
  • Canada:Expert witness likens risk of male performing oral sex on female with HIV to “getting hit by a falling piano” 19 Jul 2013
  • Uganda: Activists reject mandatory HIV tests, disclosure without consent in proposed HIV Prevention and Control Bill 19 Jul 2013
  • Uganda: Parliamentary Committee considers controversial criminal law amendments to 2010 Prevention of HIV/AIDS Bill 19 Jul 2013
  • Canada: HIV non-disclosure prosecutions "out of all proportion and profoundly unjust" by @AIDSLAW ED (correct link) 10 Jul 2013
  • Canada: HIV non-disclosure prosecutions are "out of all proportion and profoundly unjust" by @AIDSLAW ED #HIVCan 10 Jul 2013
  • "An incredible resource on HIV criminalization->@HIVJusticeNet This issue concerns us ALL..." Thank you for the endorsement @zoemavroudi 09 Jul 2013
  • Canada: Halifax prosecutor claims HIV seroconversion can take up to 10 years following sexual exposure #HIVignorance 08 Jul 2013
  • Greece: Scientists and human rights campaigners condemn reinstatement of Provision 39A allowing forced HIV testing 08 Jul 2013
  • US: Nushawn Williams loses civil confinement hearing, will remain in custody for life #noHIVjustice 04 Jul 2013
  • RT @joeamon: #Greece: Repeal Abusive Health Regulation #HIV forced testing, detention 04 Jul 2013
  • RT @zoemavroudi: Greek Center 4Disease Control @keelpno_gr announced it supports law that led to forced tests of HIV+drug users.Its twitter… 04 Jul 2013
  • RT @condommonologue: #HIV nondisclosure law has not kept up w/ scientific advancements on HIV transmission. Must c free film PositiveWomen … 04 Jul 2013
  • RT @TheSeroProject: HIV Criminalization Poses a Serious Threat to Transgender Health 04 Jul 2013
  • Video, slides, resources now available from last week's HIV criminalisation webinar on the US REPEAL Act 04 Jul 2013
  • Greece: New health minister reinstates forced HIV testing law weeks after the former ministerial decree was repealed 04 Jul 2013

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.