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There is no HIV-specific criminal law in Algeria. While there are some general criminal laws which criminalise disease transmission, there have been no reported cases of HIV criminalisation using the general law to date.

For instance, Article 275 criminalises the knowing administration of ‘substances harmful to health’ resulting in personal illness. Where these substances result in the transmission of an incurable disease, the penalty is five to ten years’ imprisonment.

There has been one known court case relating to HIV in Algeria, which was reported in 2019. The case relates to a woman who underwent a caesarean section in 2016, and later tested HIV-positive, attributing transmission to a blood transfusion during the procedure. In December 2019, the Court of Mascara ruled that five medical personnel were guilty of ‘negligence and falsification of official documents’ relating to the case, and they were each sentenced to 18 months in prison and a fine of 10 million centimes. While this case involves HIV transmission, the criminalisation appears to arise from the negligence of medical practices rather than HIV transmission, so is unlikely to apply in other cases.


Penal Code

General criminal law (active)
Relevant text of the law

Article 275

Any person who causes personal illness or incapacity to work by administering to another person, in any manner whatsoever, knowingly, but without the intention of causing death, substances harmful to health, shall be punished by imprisonment of between two (2) months and three (3) years and a fine of between five hundred (500) and two thousand (2,000) dinars.

Where this results in illness or incapacity for work lasting more than fifteen (15) days, the penalty is imprisonment for between two (2) and five (5) years.

The guilty party may also be disqualified from one or more of the rights mentioned in article 14 and from residing in the country for a minimum of one (1) year and a maximum of five (5) years.

Where the substances administered have caused either an incurable disease, the loss of the use of an organ, or permanent disability, the penalty is imprisonment for a term of five (5) to ten (10) years.

If they cause death without the intention of causing it, the penalty is ten (10) to twenty (20) years’ imprisonment.

This information was last reviewed in March 2024