Cameroon has no HIV-specific criminal law, but the Penal Code has a provision regarding the transmission of communicable and dangerous diseases which has been used to prosecute cases of alleged HIV transmission.
Section 260 states that a person whose conduct facilitates the transmission of a contagious and dangerous disease is liable to a prison sentence ranging from 3 months to 3 years. The legislation does not specify whether intention to transmit or to cause harm is required, and disclosure before the act and consent from the HIV-negative partner are also not addressed.
There have been 2 reported cases in Cameroon. The first prosecution was reported in 2010 when a man was prosecuted for not disclosing his HIV-positive status in a case of alleged HIV transmission. He was sentenced to 15 months in jail under section 260. A second case of alleged HIV transmission was dismissed when the accused was found to be HIV-negative.
An HIV-specific bill with criminal provisions for HIV transmission was advanced in 2008 but subsequently rejected following strong representation from local organisations advocating against it.
Section 260 – Transmissible diseases
(1) is punished by imprisonment of three months to three years, any person who, by his conduct, facilitates the transmission of a communicable and dangerous disease.
Report presenting the results of a survey on HIV criminalization in African countries where French is spoken (hereinafter "Francophone Africa"), conducted from May to September 2017.
Authors: Stéphanie Claivaz-Loranger & Cécile Kazatchkine for the Canadian HIV Legal Network and HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE