The Dominican Republic specifically criminalises both intentional HIV transmission and non-disclosure through Law No. 135-11 on HIV/AIDS of 2010.
Article 79 states that any person who intentionally transmits HIV to another “by any means” will be punished with imprisonment for twenty years.
Article 78 penalises anyone who, knowing they are HIV-positive, fails to inform a sexual partner of their status. This provision carries a penalty of two to five years’ imprisonment.
Article 50 allows for mandatory testing for HIV in criminal proceedings following an order from a competent judicial authority, even where the accused does not consent.
In 2019, the National Council for HIV called for the amendment of Law No. 135-11, specifically to address Articles 50, 78, and 79.
The law also provides for a number of protections for those living with HIV, including the right to health care, education, work and confidentiality.
Prior to the introduction of Law No. 135-11, Law No. 55-93 on Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) contained a number of provisions regulating those living with HIV. Article 25 prohibited HIV-positive people from donating blood, semen, breast milk, organs or anatomical parts, while Article 26 required them to inform their sexual partners of their status. Article 31 outlined the penalties for these offences and for intentionally infecting someone. However, Law No. 55-93 was repealed by Law No. 135-11, meaning these provisions no longer have effect.
There have been no known prosecutions under these laws.
Law No. 135-11 on HIV/AIDS of 2010
CHAPTER I – TESTS FOR THE DETECTION OF HIV OR HIV ANTIBODIES
Article 50.- Mandatory tests.
The performance of tests for the detection of HIV or their antibodies, are mandatory when:
1) It is required for evidence purposes in criminal proceedings, following an order from the judicial authority
competent; even if the defendant refuses to take the test for the of HIV or its antibodies.
2) Whether the donation is of blood, blood products, breast milk, semen, organs and tissues.
3) A pregnant woman, as part of her doctor’s prescribed tests the best interest of the unborn child.
Paragraph – In the event of an HIV positive test, the pregnant woman should be included immediately in the National Programme for the Reduction of Vertical Transmission (PNRTV) of Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance.
CHAPTER IX – SANCTIONS
Article 78.- Obligation to inform the sexual partner.
Any person who, knowing his HIV seropositivity, does not communicate his serological condition to the person with whom he is going to have sexual relations, will be punished with the penalty of imprisonment from two (2) to five (5) years.
Article 79. Transmission of HIV intentionally.
Any person who, by any means, intentionally transmits HIV to another, will be punished with imprisonment for twenty (20) years.
Law No. 135-11, Law No. 55-93 on Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) (Superseded by Law No. 135-11 on HIV/AIDS of 2010)
Art. 25.- People diagnosed as carrying HIV / AIDS antibodies may not donate blood, semen, breast milk, organs or anatomical components.
Art. 26.- All persons in knowledge of their HIV-positive sero-positivity must communicate their serological condition to the persons with whom they are going to establish sexual relations, in order to have their informed consent.
Art. 31.- Persons who deliberately violate articles 25 and 26 of this Law, or who with blood, needles, syringes or other HIV-contaminated instrument, or who for sexual rape or seduction intend to infect someone, will be sanctioned with the penalties provided for in the Criminal Code.
Our thanks to UNAIDS for their research assistance to confirm current relevant legislation.