Central African Republic

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Overview

The Central African Republic passed an HIV-specific law in 2006, the Law on the Rights and Obligations of PLWHA (Act No. 06.030 of 12 September 2006), that includes a number of provisions regulating people living with HIV. The law is currently undergoing a review process but remains in place.

Article 27 states that anyone living with HIV should only have protected sex. Under Article 34, anyone who knows they are living with HIV and has unprotected sex is liable for two to five years’ imprisonment and a fine.

Article 28 prohibits any “practice or behaviour” that may lead to the transmission of HIV. Under Article 35, anyone who knowingly transmits HIV to another is liable for hard labour for life, while Article 37 penalises negligent or careless perceived ‘exposure’ of another to the risk of transmitting HIV with a penalty of one to two years’ imprisonment and a fine.

Article 29 imposes on everyone who tests positive for HIV an obligation to inform their spouse. Failure to do so carries a penalty of three months to one year imprisonment or a fine under Article 39.

Article 40 prohibits anyone living with HIV from giving a blood donation. This provision carries a penalty of six months to two years’ imprisonment or a fine.

As well as this HIV-specific law, Article 249 of the Criminal Code further penalises the transmission or attempted transmission of HIV with hard labour for life.

Although several court referrals have been received, they have ended in amicable settlements rather than prosecutions.

Laws

Law on the Rights and Obligations of PLWHA (Act No. 06.030 of 12 September 2006)

HIV-specific criminal law (active)
Year enacted
2006
Relevant text of the law

Article 27: Everyone living with HIV/AIDS should only have protected sexual relations.

Article 28: Any practice or behaviour that may lead to the transmission of infection to another person is prohibited to people living with HIV/AIDS.

Article 29: Any person tested for HIV has an obligation to inform his or her spouse. The latter, on the basis of free and informed consent, will be tested for HIV. This obligation also applies in the event of a known cohabitation

Article 31: Any person living with HIV/AIDS is required to submit to the care prescribed by the Physician.

Article 34: Anyone who knows he is HIV-positive and has unprotected sex shall be punished by imprisonment for 2 to 5 years and a fine of 100,000 to 1,000,000,000 francs.

Article 35: Anyone who, knowing that he is a carrier of HIV, knowingly transmits the infection sexually to his partner shall be punished by hard labour for life

Article 37: Anyone who, through negligence, carelessness, carelessness, clumsiness or non-compliance with the regulations, exposes another person to the risk of HIV infection by his act or activity shall be punished by imprisonment for one to two years and a fine of 100,000 to 1,000,000,000 francs.

Article 38: Anyone who, by his act or activity, knowingly causes the transmission of HIV infection to others shall be punished by hard labour for life

Article 39: Any person living with HIV/AIDS who does not declare his or her status to his or her spouse or other partner in the case of a notorious cohabitation shall be punished by imprisonment from 3 months to 1 year or a fine from 100,000 to 1,000,000 francs.

Article 40: Any person living with HIV/AIDS who donates blood, semen or organs shall be punished by imprisonment of 6 months to 2 years and/or a fine of 50,000 to 500,000 francs.

Article 42: Parole may be granted by the President of the territorially competent court at the request of the Public Prosecutor’s Office to a person living with HIV/AIDS whose condition is incompatible with continued detention.

Criminal Code

General criminal law (active)
Relevant text of the law

Art.249: Anyone who, knowing that he is HIV-positive, has knowingly contaminated or attempted to contaminate others in any way whatsoever shall be punished by hard labour for life.

The penalty is one to five years for the perpetrator of the contamination or attempted contamination with a serious or incurable sexually transmitted disease or condition.

Acknowledgements

Report presenting the results of a survey on HIV criminalization in African countries where French is spoken, conducted from May to September 2017.
Authors: Stéphanie Claivaz-Loranger & Cécile Kazatchkine for the Canadian HIV Legal Network and HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE

This information was last reviewed in March 2020