In 2005, Malta passed a disease transmission law that specifically named HIV and AIDS as two separate diseases, alongside Hepatitis B and C and Tuberculosis. The law does not differentiate between diseases, but distinguishes between intentional transmission, whereby the person is aware of their condition, and reckless transmission where they are not. The maximum sentence for transmission with direct intent would be life imprisonment should it result in death, or nine years if not, reduced to a maximum of four years or a fine in case of a reckless transmission.
To date, the Maltese Criminal court has only adjudicated on two cases of alleged HIV transmission, with the first case in 2007 overturned on appeal. In 2018, a man accused of alleged HIV transmission in 2012 was found not guilty as there was no medical evidence to support the claim.
(1) Any person who, knowing that he suffers from, or is afflicted by, any disease or condition as may be specified in accordance with sub-article (3), in any manner knowingly transmits, communicates or passes on such disease or condition to any other person not otherwise suffering from it or afflicted by it, shall, on conviction, be liable to imprisonment for a term from four year to nine years: Provided that where the other person dies as a result of such disease or condition, the offender shall be liable to the punishment established in article 211(1) [i.e. life imprisonment].
(2) Where any such disease or condition as is referred to in sub-article (1) is transmitted, communicated or passed on through imprudence, carelessness or through non-observance of any regulation by the person who knew or should have known that he suffers there from or is afflicted thereby that person shall on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine (multa) not exceeding two thousand and three hundred and twenty-nine euro and thirty-seven cents (2,329.37):Provided that where the other person dies as a result of such disease or condition, the offender shall be liable to the punishments established in article 225. [i.e. imprisonment not exceeding four years or a fine not exceeding five thousand Maltese Lira (MTL)].
(3) The Minister responsible for justice shall, by notice in the Gazette, specify diseases or conditions to which this article applies.
9.10 Communicable diseases and conditions regulations 17th May, 2005 LEGAL NOTICE 137 of 2005.
The title of these regulations is the Communicable Diseases and Conditions Regulations. Specification of diseases or conditions.
Cap. 9.2. The following diseases or conditions are specified as diseases or conditions to which article 244A of the Criminal Code applies:
(a) Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection (HIV);
(b) Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS);
(c) Hepatitis B infection;
(d) Hepatitis C infection;
Author: Mark Josef Rapa
Deals with the criminalisation of HIV transmission in terms of Article 244A of the Maltese Criminal Code.
Our thanks to Australian law firm Hall & Wilcox for their research assistance to confirm current relevant legislation.