Criminalization of Intentional HIV Transmission

  • Author: Tamar Ezer


A growing number of countries are debating or adopting legislation that would make intentional transmission of HIV a criminal offense. Under these laws, an HIV-positive person who fails to disclose his or her HIV status to his sex partner or drug-using partner can be held criminally liable for endangering that person’s life. In some cases, the law would impose mandatory prison terms for any person who knowingly transmits (or attempts to transmit) HIV to others. In other cases, proof of known HIV status would increase the penalty for rape or sexual assault. Generally, these laws do not require proof that the person specifically intended to injure the other person, but only that the defendant knew their status and failed to disclose it.

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