Timor-Leste has both an HIV-specific sentence enhancement law and a general criminal law which could be applied in cases of HIV transmission.
Article 182 of the Penal Code includes a sentence enhancement for certain sexual offences (sections II-IV of chapter III) if HIV transmission occurs, stating that penalties for those offences shall have their minimum and maximum limits increased by one third if the perpetrator has transmitted ‘any venereal disease, syphilis or AIDS (sic)‘.
Additionally, Article 146, ‘serious offences against physical integrity’, defines the causing of harm to include causing permanent illness, which could potentially be used to prosecute alleged cases of HIV transmission. This provision carries a penalty of two to eight years’ imprisonment.
Timor-Leste has laws prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of a person’s health or physical condition in the Constitution, although it does not yet have comprehensive national laws providing legal protections for people living with HIV.
There have been no reported cases of HIV criminalisation in Timor-Leste to date.
Article 182. Aggravation
1. The penalties prescribed from Section II to Section IV of this chapter shall have their minimum and maximum limits increased by one third if:
b) The perpetrator has transmitted to the victim any venereal disease, syphilis or AIDS;
2. Whenever more than one of the circumstances described in the preceding subarticle are present, only one may be evoked as a modifying circumstance and those remaining shall be weighed in determining a specific penalty.
Article 146. Serious offences against physical integrity
Any person who causes harm to the body or health of another person with the purpose of:
d) Causing permanent illness or incurable mental disorder to such a person;
is punishable with 2 to 8 years imprisonment.