The Penal Code of Sonora criminalises perceived ‘exposure’ as well as actual transmission of diseases. The law also penalises parents and guardians who allow their children who are living with a disease to be breastfed.
Article 249 states that anyone who, knowing they are living with a venereal or serious and transmissible disease, has sexual relations, breastfeeds, or in any other direct way puts another “at risk of contagion” is liable to a fine of forty to three hundred units and mandatory confinement in a suitable establishment until they have recovered from the disease. In the case of incurable diseases, the penalty is six months to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of ten to two thousand units.
In the case of partners individual complaint is required.
Article 250 penalises parents or guardians who know that their children are suffering from an illness outlined in Article 249 and who allow them to be breastfed by a wet nurse. The penalty for this offence is a fine of twenty to two hundred units, except in the case of incurable diseases in which the penalty is six months to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of ten to two thousand units.
Article 251 states that where transmission takes place, the accused will be liable for punishment under the injury and homicide provisions.
Under Article 259, injury and homicide are considered qualified and subject to higher penalties when premeditated, which explicitly includes intentional contagion of a venereal or other serious and transmissible disease.
The 2017 report by the Mexican Network Against the Criminalisation of HIV suggested that there had been nine HIV criminal cases in Sonora.
Código Penal del Estado de Sonora
TITLE SIXTEEN CRIMES AGAINST LIFE AND HEALTH
CHAPTER I INJURIES
ARTICLE 249.– He/She who, knowing that he/she is affected by a venereal disease in a contagious period, or some other serious and easily transmissible evil, has sexual relations, breastfeeds, or in any other direct way, puts another person in danger of contagion, will be fined from forty to three hundred Units of Measurement and Updating and will be confined in a suitable establishment for the necessary time, until obtaining his cure or innocuousness. In the preceding case, the criminal action may be brought directly by the victim. If the disease suffered is incurable, he/she will be sentenced to six months to five years in prison and a fine of ten to two hundred Units of Measurement and Update. It will proceed only at the request of the injured party, when the fact occurs in marriage, promise of marriage or cohabitation.
ARTICLE 250.– Parents or guardians who, knowing that their children or wards suffer from any disease of those indicated in the first paragraph of the preceding article, in a contagious period, hand them over to a nurse to breastfeed, will be fined twenty to two hundred Units of Measurement and Update. In the case of an incurable disease, the sanction established in the second paragraph of the previous article will be applied.
ARTICLE 251.– When the contagion is consummated, the person responsible will be sanctioned in the terms that this Code establishes for the crime of injury or homicide.
CHAPTER III COMMON RULES FOR INJURIES AND HOMICIDE
ARTICLE 259.- Injuries and homicide are classified, when committed with premeditation, treachery, advantage or treason. The malicious crimes of injuries and homicide will also be considered qualified, when they are committed by flood, fire, gases or explosives; by means of poisons or any other substance harmful to health; by malicious contagion of a venereal disease or some other serious and easily transmissible evil; for compensation given or promised; by torment; for depraved motives or brutal ferocity
Our thanks to la Red Mexicana de Organizaciones contra la criminalización del VIH for their research assistance to confirm current relevant legislation.