Mali enacted an HIV-specific law in 2006. Article 37 of The Act for Prevention, Care and Control of HIV states that anyone “wilfully innoculating” HIV-infected substances (including via sexual contact) is guilty of “voluntary transmission”, an offence similar to attempted murder and punishable by up to 20 years in prison. The law also provides for an obligation to disclose HIV-positive status to a sexual partner within 6 weeks of diagnosis. Medical staff may disclose a person’s HIV-positive status to their partner if they have not done so within the prescribed time limit, without violating the provisions relating to confidentiality.
To our knowledge, there have been no reported cases of HIV criminalisation in Mali to date.
Law No. 06-028/ of 29 June 2006 laying down rules on the prevention, care and control of HIV/AIDS
Everyone living with HIV is required to disclose their HIV status to their spouse or sexual partner as soon as possible. This period may not exceed six (6) completed weeks from the date on which they became aware of their HIV status.
Care services must provide all the psychosocial support necessary for the HIV-positive person to disclose to his or her spouse or sexual partners. The health care organisation, whether public or private, must in particular ensure that the disclosure is made and that the means implemented are adapted to the possible difficulties of communication and understanding of the patient and his spouse or sexual partners.
In the event that the person whose serological status has just been ascertained does not voluntarily comply with the obligation to report under paragraph 1 of this article within the prescribed time limit, the doctor or any other qualified paramedical staff of the health care organisation, after having informed him/her, may report the fact to the spouse or sexual partner, without violating the provisions relating to confidentiality laid down by the laws in force.
Article 37: Sanctions for an Act of Voluntary Transmission of HIV
Anyone who has deliberately inoculated HIV-infected substances is guilty of an act of wilful HIV transmission.
Any PLWHA, any doctor, traditional therapist, pharmacist, and any person practising a medical or paramedical profession, as well as any student in medicine, pharmacy or paramedical profession studying or employed in pharmacy, herbalist, bandager, merchant of surgical instruments, who has indicated, favoured or provided the means to commit the offence provided for in article 36 of this law, is an accomplice to the act of voluntary transmission of HIV.
The deliberate transmission of HIV is considered as attempted murder and is punishable by the penalties provided for in the Criminal Code for the punishment of this offence.
Perpetrators and accomplices of acts of wilful HIV transmission are sentenced to 5 to 20 years’ imprisonment.
Report presenting the results of a survey on HIV criminalization in African countries where French is spoken, conducted from May to September 2017.
Authors: Stéphanie Claivaz-Loranger & Cécile Kazatchkine for the Canadian HIV Legal Network and HIV JUSTICE WORLDWIDE