Angola maintains both an HIV-specific statute, as well as relevant criminal provisions in the Penal Code.
A new Penal Code came into effect in February 2021. Article 205 criminalises anyone who, knowing that they are living with a “life-threatening sexually transmitted viral or bacterial disease”, and has sexual intercourse with someone without informing them of their status, with up to two years’ imprisonment or a fine, or two to four years’ imprisonment where transmission takes place. Where the accused has the intention of transmitting the disease, the punishment is four to six years where they are unsuccessful, and 10 to 15 years where transmission takes place. The same penalties apply for other acts capable of transmitting a sexually transmitted disease.
Additionally, Article 287 criminalises anyone who “propagates a contagious disease and thereby creates an actual danger to the life or physical integrity of another person”, with a penalty of two to eight years’ imprisonment.
Article 199(2) provides for aggravated sentences (by one quarter) for a number of sexual offences, including sexual assault, sexual harassment, and sexual abuse of minors, where the perpetrator is living with a sexually transmitted disease “likely to endanger the life of the victim”. The penalties are increased further where committed against minors and transmission takes place.
As well as the Penal Code, Angola maintains an HIV-specific statute, which as of November 2019, is under review with changes expected shortly.
Under section 14 of the current law, Law 8/04 on HIV and AIDS (2004), all people living with HIV must take measures to limit the possibility of transmitting HIV, including by using condoms when having “sexual relations”. They must also inform any past, present and prospective sexual partners of their HIV-positive status. Under section 24, blood donation by people living with HIV is prohibited and transmission through this means is punishable under the Penal Code.
Two cases were reported in 2007/8 although little is known about the circumstances except that the Angola Press reported ‘the police got acquainted with these cases after various conflicts between couples’.
Law 8/04 on HIV and AIDS
Section 14 – Duties Persons infected with HIV shall:
d) inform the persons with whom they have or intend to have sexual relations of their status;
e) inform the heath personnel who attend to them of their situation so that services are administered adequately and appropriate biosecurity measures are taken;
f) inform their spouses or sexual partners about their status.
Section 15 – Transmitting
1. The intentional transmission of HIV constitutes a crime and is punishable in terms of section 353 of the Penal Code.
2. A person who, through negligence, inconsideration or failure to observe regulations, infects another, is punished in terms of section 368 of the Penal Code.
Section 24 – Blood and organ donation
1. Persons infected with HIV cannot donate blood, breast milk, organs or tissue for therapeutic use, except in the scope of experimental research.
2. A violation of the above provision is punishable in terms subsection 1 of section 15 of the present Act.
Penal Code (Law No. 38/20)
2. 2. The penalties provided for in Articles 182 to 187, 192 to 194 and 197 shall be increased by one quarter in their minimum and maximum limits, whenever the perpetrator is the carrier of a sexually transmitted disease likely to endanger the life of the victim.
Contagion of sexually transmitted diseases
1. Whoever, knowing that he or she is the carrier of a life-threatening sexually transmitted viral or bacterial disease, maintains sexual intercourse with another person without previously informing that person of the fact, shall be punished by a prison sentence of up to two years or a fine of up to 240 days.
2. If the victim is contaminated or infected, the penalty is imprisonment for 2 to 4 years.
3. If the agent has acted with the intention of contaminating the victim, without achieving this, the penalty of imprisonment is 4 to 6 years.
4. If the perpetrator has acted with the intention of contaminating the victim and actually contaminates the victim, the penalty of imprisonment is 10 to 15 years.
5. The penalty provided for in the preceding paragraph is applicable to whoever intentionally contaminates another person by any other means.
6. The criminal procedure shall depend upon complaint.
Spread of contagious disease
1. Whoever propagates a contagious disease and thereby creates an actual danger to the life or physical integrity of another person shall be punished by imprisonment for a term of between two and eight years.
2. If the danger is caused by negligence of the agent, the penalty shall be imprisonment for up to 3 years.
3. If the conduct is due to negligence, the penalty is imprisonment for up to 2 years or a fine of up to 240 days.
In November 2020, The Southern Africa Litigation Centre, ARASA and HIV Justice Worldwide put together a discussion document on the Criminalisation of HIV in Angola. This brief has been prepared for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) working on HIV and human rights in Angola, to contribute to discussions around criminalisation of HIV in the country. It sets out concerns regarding the criminalisation of HIV transmission, exposure and non-disclosure in general, based on compelling scientific developments and the position of international human rights and public health experts. It further examines the relevant laws and their application in Angola, provides alternatives to criminalisation and concludes with specific recommendations regarding the reform of such laws in the country.
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Our thanks to UNAIDS and ARASA for their research assistance to confirm current relevant legislation.