• What’s up with HIV laws in America? Great new video from @McClatchyDC #hivisnotacrime #HIVcriminalisation# 23 Nov 2015
  • UK: @Law_Commission scoping paper rejects expanding HIV/STI law to prosecute non-disclosure or potential exposure 09 Nov 2015
  • UK: No change to E&W HIV/STI criminalisation law/policy recommended by @Law_Commission pending a wider review. 09 Nov 2015
  • New @IAPAC guidelines to achieve 90-90-90 targets recommend ending HIV criminalisation. (Thanks @DrJoe1234 and team) 06 Nov 2015
  • Bahrain: New HIV-specific law would criminalise #HIV non-disclosure to ‘authorities, their partners or relatives’ 04 Nov 2015
  • #knowyourviralload Make routine #HIV viral load testing available to all @_ARASAcomms @ITPCglobal 29 Oct 2015
  • Where has the prevention benefit of treatment impacted #HIVcriminalisation in Europe? #EACS2015 #hivisnotacrime 28 Oct 2015
  • @KELINKenya, @ICWKenya, @ICW_Global Are you aware of this case? This woman needs a good defence lawyer 28 Oct 2015
  • This new report is a sobering and timely analysis of the state of funding for the human rights response to HIV.... 22 Oct 2015
  • Canada: New film explores the impact of using sexual assault law to prosecute HIV non-disclosure - See more at: 15 Oct 2015
  • US: Is Louisiana's 'AIDS exposure' statute outdated? Advocates say it adds to stigma #hivisnotacrime #criminalization 16 Sep 2015
  • Find out what's #insidethebox. Watch and share the short film “Inside The Box", #HIVisNOTaCRIME 14 Sep 2015
  • Thanks for the alert@strongthomas. Terribly irresponsible reporting@FM104Phoneshow. Shame on you! Talk to@HIVIreland for balanced reporting. 21 Aug 2015
  • Mexico: Veracruz state passses new law that criminalises ’wilful’ HIV transmission despite concerted advocacy efforts 10 Aug 2015
  • Canada: Majority of women with HIV who also inject drugs face legal obligation to disclose to sexual partners #HIVCan 28 Jul 2015
  • US: Missouri police, prosecutors, media reach new low in overly zealous policing of overly broad HIV criminalisation 22 Jul 2015
  • Turn It Up! an innovative resource by @TheSeroProject for US prisoners with HIV needs help reaching Kickstarter goal 21 Jul 2015
  • RT @KELINKenya: We are advocating for the immediate release of a TB Patient jailed in Narok for Interrupting treatment… 21 Jul 2015
  • RT @oronda: #TBisNotACrime campaign media briefing by @KELINKenya ahead of mention of case on 22 July,2015 @ Milimani High Court http://t.c… 21 Jul 2015
  • RT @oronda: Incarcerating TB patients beats the very purpose of taking them to prison if they are not in isolation #TBisNotACrime Cc. @KELI21 Jul 2015

An overview of HIV and the role of criminal law

There will be calls for ‘law and order’ and a ‘war on AIDS’. Beware of those who cry out for simple solutions, for [in] combating HIV/AIDS there are none. In particular, do not put faith in the enlargement of the criminal law.

Justice Michael Kirby, High Court of Australia, 19911

When discussing issues related to the role of the criminal law in regards to potential or actual HIV exposure or transmission, a common frame of reference for key facts and concepts is required. In particular, it is important to understand where the use of the criminal law might fit within the broader context of the global HIV epidemic and evidence-informed methods of HIV prevention. The purpose of this chapter is to provide such a frame of reference in relation to the following topics:

  • the global HIV pandemic
  • evidence-informed HIV prevention
  • the challenge of HIV-related stigma
  • the role of human rights in the global response to HIV
  • the role of the law in the global response to HIV.


  1. Kirby M The Ten Commandments. [Australian] National AIDS Bulletin, March 1991
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.