Kyrgyzstan

Number of reported cases At least 1 How do we calculate the number of cases

Overview

In January 2019 a new Criminal Code entered into force in Kyrgyzstan, replacing the 1997 Code which contained separate offences criminalising the transmission of HIV and other venereal diseases, with more severe penalties for the former. The 2019 Code continues to make these offences but combines them into a single provision and imposes equal penalties.

Article 149 of the Criminal Code governs the criminalisation of HIV transmission and other infections. The provision makes it an offence to:

    1. ‘put another in danger of contracting’ HIV or another ‘incurable infectious disease dangerous to human life’, where the infection is not actually transmitted
    2. cause transmission of HIV or another ‘incurable infectious disease dangerous to human life’ by negligence where the person was aware of their status
    3. cause transmission of HIV or another ‘incurable infectious disease dangerous to human life’ (presumably, with intention).

The penalties imposed for these offences are: a fine, correctional labour for two and a half to three years, or imprisonment for up to two and a half years; a fine or imprisonment for two and half to five years; and imprisonment for five to seven years, respectively.

The provision makes it a defence to parts 1 and 2 of this offence if the other party was informed of the presence of the infection and voluntarily agreed to the activity.

In November 2021, the CEDAW Committee called on the Government of Kyrgyzstan to decriminalise HIV transmission under article 149.

There is also a specific HIV/AIDS statute in Kyrgyzstan, enacted in 2005, which outlines the rights and obligations of people living with HIV, and states that individuals found guilty of HIV transmission will be liable to pay damages and interests to the infected person to compensate them for their medical and social care.

An amnesty law adopted in May 2020, which governs the early release of imprisoned people, explicitly excludes those living with diseases that pose a perceived ‘risk’ to others, including infectious and venereal diseases. The law states that amnesty may only be applied after a course of treatment has been ‘completed’. As local HIV activists point out, people living with HIV cannot satisfy this condition as treatments such as antiretroviral therapy are prescribed for life. As such, activists claim that no imprisoned people living with HIV have been released under this law.

This amnesty law means that those living with HIV who are imprisoned under the country’s HIV laws are vulnerable to double persecution. Activists are therefore advocating for the inclusion of HIV/AIDS on the list of diseases which make imprisoned people eligible for release, as well as on a list of diseases which preclude detention.

In 2008, nine doctors were prosecuted under the previous Criminal Code for medical negligence resulting in alleged HIV transmission. They were given prison terms ranging from three to five years and asked to pay damages and interests to the affected children and their families.

There is only one known case under article 149, which was reported in December 2021. The case relates to a woman who contracted HIV from her partner who it is claimed was aware of his status. The case was under investigation and we are not aware whether it resulted in a prosecution.

Laws

Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic, No. 19 of 2 February 2017

Communicable disease law (active)
Year enacted
2017
Relevant text of the law

Article 149. Infection with an incurable infectious disease

  1. Putting another person in danger of contracting the human immunodeficiency virus or other incurable infectious disease dangerous to human life, if the infection has not occurred, – is punished with correctional labor of the IV category or a fine of the V category, or imprisonment of the I category.
  1. Infection of another person with the human immunodeficiency virus or other incurable infectious disease by a person who knew that he had this disease, committed by negligence, – is punished with a fine of the VI category or imprisonment of the II category.
  1. Infection of another person with a human immunodeficiency virus or other incurable infectious disease dangerous to human life – is punished with imprisonment of the III category.

Note. A person is released from criminal liability for an act provided for in parts 1 or 2 of this article, if another person put in danger of contracting HIV infection was promptly warned about the presence of this disease in the first person and voluntarily agreed to take actions that created the danger of infection.

Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic No. 68 of October 1, 1997 (as amended up to Law No. 57 of February 13, 2006)

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

Article 117. Infecting with HIV (1) Known endangering of a person with threat of HIV infection, – shall be sentenced with 3 to 6 months of arrest or up to 1 year of imprisonment. (2) Infecting a person with HIV by a person knowing of being HIV infected, – shall be sentenced by up to 5 years of imprisonment. (3) The act provided by part 2 of this Article committed towards 2 or more persons or towards a juvenile, – shall be sentenced by up to 8 years of imprisonment. (4) Infecting another person with HIV through inappropriate fulfillment of professional duties by a medical staff, – shall be sentenced by up to 5 years of imprisonment.

Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic No. 68 of October 1, 1997 (as amended up to Law No. 57 of February 13, 2006)

Sexually transmitted infection law (superseded)
Year enacted
2006
Relevant text of the law

Article 118. Infecting with a Venereal Disease (1) Infecting a person with a venereal disease by a person knowing of being, – shall be sentenced by fine in amount of 50 to 100 minimum monthly wages or up to 3 years of imprisonment. (2) The act provided by part 1 of this Article committed by a person previously convicted for infecting people with venereal disease, as well as infecting 2 or more persons or a juvenile, – shall be sentenced by up to 5 years of imprisonment.

Law of the Kyrgyz Republic - About HIV / AIDS in the Kyrgyz Republic dated August 13, 2005 No. 149

HIV-specific criminal law (active)
Year enacted
2005
Relevant text of the law

Article 6. Rights and obligations of PLWHA

Persons living with HIV / AIDS have the full range of socio-economic, political, personal rights and freedoms, and also bear the obligations enshrined in the Constitution of the Kyrgyz Republic and the legislation of the Kyrgyz Republic.

….

Persons living with HIV / AIDS are required to take measures to prevent the transmission of HIV infection to another person.

 The deliberate risk of infection or infection of another person (or several persons) with HIV by a person who knew that he had HIV infection entails criminal liability established by the legislation of the Kyrgyz Republic.

The person guilty of this shall also compensate the damage caused in connection with the provision of medical and social assistance to the infected person.

Acknowledgements

Our thanks to the Eurasian Women's AIDS Network (EWNA) for their research assistance to confirm current relevant legislation