Edwin J. Bernard
Published: 18 July 2010


  • RT @BarbCardell: CBP Chief Hastings acknowledges that they separate families at the border based on HIV status. Here is our communities re… 26 Jul 2019
  • RT @gnpplus: STATEMENT: GNP+ @HIVJusticeNet condemn dismissal of appeal in Singapore HIV criminalisation case.“HIV prevention is a shared r… 03 Jul 2019
  • Breaking news! @gnpplus and @HIVJusticeNet condemn dismissal of appeal in Singapore #HIVcriminalisation case… 03 Jul 2019
  • Please help us document the process of supporting HIV criminalisation survivors. We are seeking input from legal o… 27 Jun 2019
  • We wholeheartedly agree. A strong @UNAIDS means a strong human rights-based approach to @HIV #HIVisnotacrime… 26 Jun 2019
  • RT @alexmcclelland: The Global Commission on HIV & the Law is concerned about the increased misuse of individuals’ personal health informat… 21 Jun 2019
  • BREAKING: Justice Committee report recommends wide-ranging reforms to HIV criminalisation in Canada. Congratuations… 18 Jun 2019
  • RT @AIDSLAW: We've spent decades advocating for this critical change. We're very happy that it's a key part of the Justice Committee's repo… 17 Jun 2019
  • Published today - 'Using Research in the Fight Against #HIVCriminalisation - A Guide for #Activists' to help advoca… 13 Jun 2019
  • RT @HIVLawCom: A new @HIVJusticeNet report analyses the growing global movement against #HIV criminalisation. Six countries saw precedent… 06 Jun 2019
  • #HIVIsNotaCrime! Now in Spanish, French & Russian -- #MakingMediaWork for #HIVJustice: An introduction to media eng… 06 Jun 2019
  • RT @WOLA_org: New report by @WOLA_org, @IDPCnet, and @Dejusticia shed light on the disproportionate impact of pretrial detention for drug o… 05 Jun 2019
  • Thanks to #RobertCarrFund for recognising a global network focused on ending #HIVcriminalisation was work that need… 29 May 2019
  • BREAKING - JUST RELEASED: New report analyses the successes and challenges of the growing global movement against… 29 May 2019
  • Previewing our new report, Advancing #HIVJustice 3, published on May 29th, at the #ChallengeCrim intersectional dia… 23 May 2019
  • HJN is delighted to be part of this important cross-movement project to #ChallengeCrim globally. 23 May 2019
  • RT @Account4All: "You have to work with grassroots civil society to make access to justice a reality and to ensure justice reaches every pe… 23 May 2019
  • Coming May 29th....Advancing HIV Justice 3: Growing the global movement against HIV criminalisation… 17 May 2019
  • RT @alisapower: If you have NGO managerial skills and a commitment to human rights in the context of HIV - this is an enormously important,… 15 May 2019
  • Could you be one of our new HIV Justice Network Supervisory Board Members? Applications close 31st May 2019. Full… 15 May 2019

This chapter provides a brief explanation of the different kinds of laws used to criminalise non-disclosure and/or the potential or actual exposure or transmission of HIV from one person to another. This is followed by a history of the criminalisation of HIV exposure and transmission, highlighting significant milestones in laws, prosecutions and convictions around the world.

Contents include:

  • examples of criminal laws that apply to non-disclosure of HIV-positive status and/or potential or actual HIV exposure or transmission

  • the impact of misconceptions and irrational fears in the early years of the AIDS epidemic

  • the myth of the ‘intentional HIV transmitter’

  • the impact of efforts to criminalise HIV exposure and transmission in the United States

  • the rise of prosecutions in high-income countries

  • the recent proliferation of HIV-specific laws in Africa

  • the growing opposition to ‘criminalisation’.

A note about the availability of evidence

Obtaining accurate information about laws and prosecutions relating to HIV exposure and transmission can be challenging, even for local civil society organisations working within their country. It is particularly difficult to discern how issues relating to the criminalisation of potential or actual HIV exposure or transmission have been addressed in countries in which such information is not freely available.

Tracing the history of such criminalisation is thus problematic. Much of what is known about individual cases, and even some of the laws themselves, comes from media reports which are selective at best and inaccurate at worst. Given the lack of formal mechanisms to identify, report and record HIV-related prosecutions, it is not possible to definitively determine the true number of arrests and prosecutions – or even HIV-specific criminal laws – for every country in the world.

The first systematic efforts to monitor prosecutions outside a single country took place in 2005 when the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), working in partnership with Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), published the results of a rapid scan of laws and prosecutions in Europe.1 Since 2007, global monitoring and reporting of individual arrests, prosecutions, newly proposed HIV-specific criminal laws and civil society responses has been archived in the author’s blog Criminal HIV Transmission ( In 2008, the Global Criminalisation Scan website ( was launched to document HIV-related criminal laws and prosecutions worldwide. The website provides updated information as it becomes awailable. GNP+ recently published a report based on its findings to date.2


  1. GNP+, THT Criminalisation of HIV transmission in Europe. Available online at:, 2005
  2. Global Network of People Living with HIV Global Criminalisation Report (working title). Amsterdam: GNP+, 2010
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.
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.