Moldova’s HIV prevention law, enacted in 2002, sets out the criminal liability of people with HIV who are aware of their infection and who by their behaviour put another person at risk of HIV. In 2007, Moldova updated its HIV-specific law to specify under article 29 that prosecutions for HIV transmission fall under article 212 of the Criminal Code which lays out the penalties for crimes against public health, including HIV transmission.
Both exposure and transmission of HIV are subject to prosecution as long as the person living with HIV is aware of their diagnosis, or has reason to believe they could have HIV, and their behaviour could result in HIV transmission. Disclosure and consent from the HIV-negative partner can preclude criminal liability.
Sentences range from ‘up to 5 years’ imprisonment through to a maximum of 8 years imprisonment. Medical negligence resulting in HIV transmission can also be punished by up to 5 years in prison.
Transmission of other sexually transmitted infections can be subject to prosecution under Article 211 of the Criminal Code.
At least five people have been charged and convicted under Article 212, with the most recent case identified in June 2017. Three of these cases were based on alleged non-disclosure and one case, in 2015, was about a person living with HIV “intentionally pricking” a nurse with a needle.
In addition, Transnistria – a breakaway state internationally recognised as part of Moldova – has its own HIV-specific criminal law. Under Article 119 of its Criminal Code, HIV exposure or transmission are punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment. Disclosure of HIV and consent from the HIV-negative partner can constitute a defence against criminal liability.
We are not aware of any HIV criminalisation cases in Transnistria to date.
Law of the Republic of Moldova on HIV/AIDS prevention. 16/02/2007
Chapter VII – Legal Assistance for persons with HIV Positive Status and Responsibility
Article 29. Responsibility of persons with HIV-positive status
(1) Persons with HIV-positive status should contribute to maintaining their own health and preventing the transmission of HIV infection with a responsible and safe behavior .
(2) A person who is aware of his HIV infection and who deliberately puts another person at risk of infection shall be held criminally liable in accordance with applicable law.
Chapter VIII – Crimes against Public Health
Section 211. Infection with a venereal disease
(1) Infection of another person with a venereal disease by a person who knew that they had this disease is punishable by a fine in the amount of 500 to 850 conventional units, or unpaid labour for the benefit of the community for a period of 120 to 200 hours, or imprisonment for up to 1 year. [Art. 211 h. (1) amended by ZP207 dated 07.29.16, MO369-378 / 28.10.16 Article 751; in force from 11/7/16 ]
(2) The same action committed:
- b) in respect of two or more persons;
- c) in relation to an obviously minor,
shall be punished by a fine in the amount of from 550 to 1050 conventional units, or by unpaid labour in favor of the company for a period of 180 to 240 hours, or imprisonment for a period of up to 2 years. [Art. 211 h. (2) amended by ZP207 dated 07.29.16, MO369-378 / 28.10.16 Article 751; in force from 11/7/16
Infection with AIDS
(1) Knowingly putting another person at risk of contracting AIDS disease is punishable by deprivation of liberty for a term of up to 1 year.
(2) Infection of another person with AIDS by a person who knew that he had this disease shall be punishable by imprisonment for a term of 1 year to 5 years.
(3) The action provided for in paragraph (2), committed:
a) in respect of two or more persons;
b) in relation to a known minor,
shall be punishable by deprivation of liberty for a term of 3 to 8 years.
(4) Infection of another person with AIDS as a result of failure or improper performance by a medical professional of his professional duties the applicable sentence is deprivation of liberty for a term of up to 5 years, with the deprivation of the right to occupy certain positions or engage in certain activities for a term of up to 3 years.
(5) A person who has committed the acts provided for in paragraphs (1) or (2) shall not be criminally liable if he has informed the person at risk of infection in advance that he has AIDS or if the person at risk of infection knew about the presence of this disease, but voluntarily committed actions that created the danger of infection.
Legislation of Transnistria - Criminal Code
Article 119 “Infection with HIV”:
Part 1. Knowingly placing another person at risk of contracting HIV – is punished by imprisonment for up to 1 year.
Part 2. Infection of another person with HIV by a person who knew about the presence of this disease – is punished by imprisonment for a term of up to five years.
Part 3. The action envisaged in part 2 of this article committed against two or more persons, or against a knowingly minor – is punished by imprisonment for a term of 3 to 8 years.
Part 4. Infection of another person with due to improper performance by a person of their professional duties – is punished by imprisonment for a term of up to 5 years with deprivation of the right to occupy particular positions or engage in particular activities for a term of up to 3 years.
Note. A person who committed acts specified in parts 1 or 2 of this article shall be exempted from criminal liability if the person who placed at risk of infection or infected with HIV was timely warned about the disease and voluntarily consented to the actions that created danger of exposure
Authors: Eurasian Women’s Network on AIDS (EWNA)
Regional HIV criminalisation report that summarises the state of play regarding HIV criminalisation laws and known prosecutions in the EECA region.
Our thanks to Australian law firm Hall & Wilcox for their research assistance to confirm current relevant legislation.