The law on HIV transmission is the same as in England and Wales in Northern Ireland except that a sentence for reckless transmission may be up to seven years.
There have been no cases of sexual transmission of HIV, or other STIs, in Northern Ireland to date. However, in 2016 a woman living with HIV was found guilty of assault occasioning actual bodily harm after she bit a police officer in a hospital, drawing blood. HIV was not transmitted, however the women received a sentence of five months in custody.
Offences Against The Person Act 1861
Section 18. Wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm
Whosoever shall unlawfully and maliciously by any means whatsoever wound or cause any grievous bodily harm to any person (…) with intent, (…) to do some (…) grievous bodily harm to any person, [or with intent to resist or prevent the lawful apprehension or detainer of any person,] shall be guilty of an offence, and being convicted thereof shall be liable (…) to imprisonment for life.
Section 20. Inflicting bodily injury, with or without weapon
Whosoever shall unlawfully and maliciously wound or inflict any grievous bodily harm upon any other person, either with or without any weapon or instrument, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and being convicted thereof shall be liable (…) to imprisonment (…) for not more than five years.
Information for individuals living with HIV about the law in Northern Ireland (and other UK jurisdictions).
Resources for both individuals living with HIV, as well as those advocating on their behalf, on all aspects of HIV criminalisation in Northern Ireland (and other UK jurisdictions).
Explores use of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 to prosecute people who have transmitted HIV infection to sexual partners in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Examines evidence in cases of sexual HIV transmission and considers the likely impact that criminalising HIV transmission has on public health, especially HIV prevention. Includes recommendations.