Some countries have used the criminal law to prosecute people living with HIV who have – or are believed to have – put others at risk of acquiring HIV. Some countries’ laws criminalise people who do not disclose their HIV status to sexual partners as well as actual cases of HIV transmission.   

HIV and criminal law: latest news

HIV and criminal law resources

  • Sexual partners

    The decision to tell (or not to tell) a sexual partner can be particularly complex. Many people living with HIV have faced rejection from sexual partners, so...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • Transmission and the law

    Some people have gone to prison because they have passed HIV on to another person. They were convicted of 'recklessly transmitting HIV'.In England and Wales,...

    From: The basics

    Information level Level 1
  • HIV, sex and the law

    If you know you are HIV positive, and you have sex without a condom without telling your sexual partner about your HIV status, and your partner...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • Disclosure

    Telling people you have HIV (disclosing) can be frightening. It is important to take time to think about the advantages and disadvantages of doing so. Many people tell...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • Sex

    Having HIV can affect people’s feelings about sex in many different ways. Some people become anxious about passing HIV on, or feel less desirable. While some people go...

    From: Booklets

    Information level Level 2
  • Transmission of HIV as a criminal offence

    Information about policing and prosecutions of HIV transmission....

    From: Social & legal issues for people with HIV

    Information level Level 4
  • HIV & the criminal law

    An international resource exploring the full range of issues relating to the criminalisation of HIV exposure and transmission, with information on current laws and practice....

    From: Aidsmap 2.0

    Information level Level 4

HIV and criminal law features

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HIV and criminal law news from aidsmap

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HIV and criminal law news selected from other sources

  • He Emerged From Prison a Potent Symbol of H.I.V. Criminalization

    Michael L. Johnson, a gay athlete convicted of not disclosing his H.I.V. status to sexual partners, was released 25 years early and has become a galvanizing force to overhaul laws.

    15 July 2019 | The New York Times
  • "Tiger Mandingo,” Who Got 30 Years For Not Telling Sex Partners He Had HIV, Is Free 25 Years Early

    Michael Johnson, who was sentenced to an unprecedented 30.5 years for failing to disclose his HIV status to his sexual partners, was released today, 25 years early, after an appeals court condemned his original trial as “fundamentally unfair.” In a racially and sexually charged trial, he had received a longer sentence than many murderers do.

    11 July 2019 | BuzzFeed
  • GNP+ and the HIV Justice Network condemn dismissal of appeal in Singapore HIV criminalisation case

    The Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) and the HIV Justice Network (HJN) condemn the dismissal of the appeal by a Singaporean man living with HIV who was convicted to two years’ imprisonment for not disclosing his status to his sexual partner and for not communicating the risk of HIV transmission to his sexual partner. We are particularly concerned that the judgement has emphasised the lack of explaining the risk of HIV transmission as the main reason for dismissing the appeal.

    07 July 2019 | HIV Justice Network
  • Working to end the criminalization of HIV in Canada

    On June 14, I travelled to Toronto to meet with leading activists, researchers and experts working to end the criminalization of HIV in Canada for the 8th Symposium on HIV, Law and Human Rights. Organized by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, the annual forum for the past few years has focused solely on advocacy to end Canada’s position as a global leader in the criminalization of people living with HIV for alleged non-disclosure, exposure and transmission.

    26 June 2019 | CATIE
  • Statement: Response To Justice Committee’s Report On The Criminalization Of People Living With HIV

    Today the House of Commons Standing Committee of Justice and Human Rights has released its report “The Criminalization of HIV Non-Disclosure in Canada.” The report contains several important recommendations to limit the broad, unscientific and unjust use of the criminal law against people living with HIV. We welcome many of the conclusions in this report. Now concrete action must follow.

    18 June 2019 | Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
  • Ex-nurse accused of raping woman loses appeal over HIV test

    A former nurse charged with raping and impregnating an incapacitated patient at a long-term care center in Phoenix has lost his appeal of a court order requiring a test to determine if he has HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases.

    17 June 2019 | Associated Press
  • Canada: Liberals hope to deal with HIV non-disclosure issue if re-elected

    The Liberals hope to address the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure if re-elected in the fall, the federal justice minister said Friday as advocacy groups pushed the government to make changes to the law.

    17 June 2019 | CTV News
  • UNAIDS welcomes the decision of the Constitutional Court of Colombia to strike down the section of the criminal code criminalizing HIV transmission

    UNAIDS welcomes the decision of the Constitutional Court of Colombia to remove the section of the criminal code that criminalizes HIV and Hepatitis B transmission. Overly broad criminalization of HIV transmission is ineffective, discriminatory and does not support efforts to prevent new HIV infections.

    17 June 2019 | UNAIDS
  • Vancouver police search for subject of unprecedented HIV-medication order

    Last October, David Hynd pleaded guilty to violating B.C.'s Public Health Act, marking the first time B.C. medical authorities used the courts to force someone into treatment for the virus that causes AIDS. But he now faces six counts of breaching the terms of that order — and police are asking for the public's help in locating the 35-year-old, who has allegedly eluded them for more than a month.

    07 June 2019 | CBC
  • Medical Investigation: How Did 494 Children In One Pakistani City Get HIV?

    Dr. Minhaj Kidwai believes that the outbreak is a result of "contaminated syringes, syringes that are reused for injections in children, unscreened blood transfusions and reuse of dextrose and saline drips."

    22 May 2019 | NPR
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Our information levels explained

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  • Expands on the previous level, but also written in easy-to-understand plain language.
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See also

Community Consensus Statement on Access to HIV Treatment and its Use for Prevention

Together, we can make it happen

We can end HIV soon if people have equal access to HIV drugs as treatment and as PrEP, and have free choice over whether to take them.

Launched today, the Community Consensus Statement is a basic set of principles aimed at making sure that happens.

The Community Consensus Statement is a joint initiative of AVAC, EATG, MSMGF, GNP+, HIV i-Base, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, ITPC and NAM/aidsmap

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.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.