Tunisia does not have an HIV-specific criminal law, however Articles 11 and 12 of the Law on Communicable Diseases, enacted in 1992, makes it an offence for a person to “deliberately” transmit a communicable disease. HIV is just one of many conditions listed in the law.
Transmission is punished by one to three years confinement in appropriate medical facilities. Treatment is also mandatory under Article 9.
Although local organisations believe there may have been some cases of prosecutions for HIV exposure or transmission in the past, they were unable to confirm these.
Law n. 92-71 of 27 July 1992 on communicable diseases
Article 9: Any person who knows that he or she is suffering from one of the communicable diseases listed in the schedule attached to this Act shall be required to be examined and treated by a physician.
Any person who is known to be suffering from any of the diseases listed in the Schedule attached to this Law may be ordered by the health authority to provide regular treatment and to prove it by producing medical certificates on the dates determined by the same health authority.
The provisions of paragraph 2 of this article shall not apply to persons who voluntarily present themselves for anonymous screening at the health centres and establishments provided for by order of the Minister responsible for public health.
Article 11: Compulsory hospitalization for prophylactic isolation may be ordered for persons suffering from any of the diseases listed in the annex to this Act whenever such persons are suffering from any of the diseases listed in the annex to this Act:
Refuse to undertake or continue the prescribed treatment despite the order to be treated regularly and to prove it, as provided for in article 9 of this Law.
Deliberately contribute by their behaviour to the transmission of the disease they suffer from to other persons.
Article 18. – Any person found guilty of the acts mentioned in article 11, paragraph 2, of this Law shall be punished by imprisonment for a term of one to three years.
Article 20. The penalties provided for in Articles 18 and 19 of this Law shall be served in appropriate hospital facility.
Stéphanie Claivaz-Loranger & Cécile Kazatchkine
Report presenting the results of a survey on HIV criminalisation in African countries where French is spoken conducted from May to September 2017.