Latvia

Number of reported cases 0 How do we calculate the number of cases

Overview

Latvia has two criminal laws that specifically mention HIV, along with hepatitis B and C.  The first criminalises “deliberate” infection with a maximum prison term of five years.  The law does not appear to treat “deliberate” infection with HIV differently from “deliberate” infection with hepatitis B and C, nor from “deliberate infection” with “dangerous infectious agents” which is also subject to the same maximum penalty.

“Deliberate” infection with other STIs is also criminalised, but the maximum penalty is “temporary custodial sentence” unless the victim is a minor, in which case the maximum prison term is one year.

Latvia’s criminal code defines “deliberate” infection as taking place with either direct or indirect intent. “[D]irect intent if a person has become aware of the harmfulness of his or her act or omission and has knowingly committed or admitted it or has become aware of the harmfulness of his or her act or omission, has foreseen the harmful consequences…indirect intent if a person has become aware of the harmfulness of his or her actions or omissions, has foreseen the harmful consequences of the offense and, although he or she did not wish to do so, has deliberately allowed them to occur.”

A second criminal law that specifically mentions HIV sanctions medical practitioners for medical negligence with greater penalties for negligence leading to infection with HIV, hepatitis B and C or death (up to five years in prison) compared to other “serious or moderate injury”.

There have been no successful HIV-related prosecutions in Latvia to date, although criminal proceedings have been initiated without reaching trial.

Laws

Article 133. Infection with human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis B and C virus

Communicable disease law (active)
Year enacted
2013
Relevant text of the law

Article 133. Infection with human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis B and C virus

Deliberate infection of a person with human immunodeficiency virus or hepatitis B or C virus

– shall be punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of up to five years or a short term of imprisonment or forced labor or a fine.

Article 138. Improper performance of the professional duties of a medical practitioner

Other law (active)
Year enacted
2013
Relevant text of the law

Article 138. Improper performance of the professional duties of a medical practitioner

(1) For negligence or negligence on the part of a medical practitioner in the case of serious or moderate bodily injury to a victim due to the negligence of the offender,

shall be punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to one year or a short term of imprisonment or forced labor or a fine.

(2) For the same offense if it caused the victim to become infected with the human immunodeficiency virus or hepatitis B or C virus or caused the death of the victim,

shall be punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of up to five years or a short term of imprisonment or forced labor or a fine.

Further resources

Official annual statistics of the application of all criminal laws in Latvia.

Acknowledgements

Thanks for Aleksandrs Molokovskis, Chair of the Board of the Association HIV.LV for his assistance to confirm current relevant legislation.

This information was last reviewed in April 2020