Albania has an omnibus HIV law which prohibits HIV transmission and ‘exposure’. This statute, The Law for the Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS, was adopted in 2008 and replaced a similar law adopted in 2000.
As well as enshrining a range of rights for people living with HIV, such as access to healthcare, testing, and counselling, and non-discrimination in education and employment, this law sets out broad obligations on people living with HIV. Specifically, they are required to take measures to prevent transmission and inform their spouse or cohabitant of their HIV status. These obligations do not themselves appear to carry penalties for failure to comply.
Article 9 of the law sets out specific prohibited acts. These include transmission of HIV to another, intentionally or otherwise, and threatening to transmit (presumably ‘exposure’). It is also prohibited for a medical professional to undertake a blood transfusion or organ transplant when aware that the donor is living with HIV. Furthermore, the prohibited acts also include discrimination against people living with HIV, disclosing someone’s HIV status without approval, and refusal to provide treatment of someone living with HIV.
Article 31 permits those processing HIV tests to notify the spouses and cohabitants, or parents in the case of minors, as well as those responsible for their care within institutions, of those who test positive for HIV. Disclosure beyond these parameters without the person’s approval would violate Article 9 of this law.
Article 45 establishes that those who commit the acts prohibited under article 9, or who violate the non-discrimination clauses in this law, are liable to misdemeanour punishment resulting in a fine, except where the conduct constitutes a criminal offence. While the Criminal Code of Albania does not contain any provisions explicitly punishing HIV transmission or ‘exposure’, the offences of causing ‘serious injury’ include within the definition of injury ‘permanent detriment to health’, which could be applied to include diseases such as HIV. However, we are not aware of any reported HIV cases in Albania.
The Law for the Prevention and Control of HIV/AIDS
Article 9. Prohibited acts
Prohibited acts are:
1. Intentionally transmitting or causing transmission of the HIV virus to another person.
2. The threat of transmitting HIV to another person.
3. Stigmatization and discrimination of a person living with HIV/AIDS.
4. Abandonment by the parents of the minor child, infected with HIV; abandonment by the legal guardian of the child, under guardianship, infected with HIV.
5. Making public the name, address and appearance (image) of the person infected with HIV or the disclosure of the information of an infected person by another, without his approval, except for the case defined in Article 29 of this law.
6. Falsifying the HIV infection report by a person who is not infected.
7. Obligation to perform HIV testing, except for the cases mentioned in Article 29 of this law.
8. Refusal to provide treatment or medical examination to a person known or suspected to be infected with HIV.
9. Transfusion of blood or blood products infected with HIV, transplantation of different body parts of a person infected with HIV to another person, when doctors have knowledge or sufficient data that the blood donor is infected with HIV.
10. Giving HIV/AIDS control and prevention advantages for personal gain, or committing illegal acts. 11. Other acts, prohibited by the Albanian legislation in force.
Article 45. Sanctions
1. When they do not constitute a criminal offense, violations of articles 9, 15 point 2, 16 point 2 and 26 point 3 of this law constitute administrative misdemeanors and are punished with a fine from five times to ten times the national minimum wage.
Article 88. Serious intentional injury
The intentional injury inflicting handicap, mutilation or any other permanent detriment to the health, termination of pregnancy, or which has been dangerous to the life at the moment of its inducement, shall be punished from three to ten years imprisonment.
The same offence, when committed against several persons, against the person who is the spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, or former cohabitant, close kin or close in-law relationship with the offender, or when it results in death, shall be punished from five to fifteen years of imprisonment.
Article 91. Serious injury due to negligence
Serious injury due to negligence constitutes criminal contravention and shall be punished to a fine or up to one year imprisonment.