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There is no HIV-specific criminal law in Rwanda, however, there is a general disease law which may be applicable to HIV criminalisation.

The Law on Prevention and Punishment of Gender-Based Violence, enacted in 2008, includes a provision that allows for a person to be prosecuted and sentenced to life imprisonment for intentionally transmitting a ‘terminal disease’ sexually (Article 29). As there have been no cases reported under this law it is difficult to establish what diseases would be covered, however it appears that HIV transmission would be prosecutable under this offence.


Law No. 59/2008 on prevention and punishment of Gender-Based violence

General disease law (active)
Year enacted
Relevant text of the law

Article 29. Penalty for intentionally transmitting a terminal disease

Any person guilty of intentionally transmitting a terminal disease by sexual way to someone else shall be liable to life 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

This information was last reviewed in June 2023