Taiwan’s HIV Infection Control and Patient Rights Protection Act makes it a crime for a person who knows they have HIV to have unsafe sex or share injecting equipment without disclosing their HIV status. The law applies whether or not HIV is transmitted (“unaccomplished offenders … shall be punished”). The sentence for transmitting HIV ranges from five years up to twelve years.
As of December 31, 2019, a total of 20 prosecutions were reported. 17 returned a guilty verdict and 3 people were acquitted. 13 of these prosecutions were for alleged HIV exposure as no transmission took place. The cases were often accompanied by sensationalist media reports, including the first known case, reported in 2012, involving a gay man in Taipai who was alleged to have infected 50 men during sex parties.
In 2019, the Taipei District Court convicted a gay man living with HIV of having condomless sex without disclosing his HIV-positive status. He was given a 17 month jail sentence under Article 59 of the Criminal Code which allows for reduced punishment, as HIV was not transmitted.
HIV Infection Control and Patient Rights Protection Act
Individuals who are fully aware that they are the infected have, by concealing the fact, unsafe sex with others or injections by sharing needles and syringes, diluted fluids or containers, and thus infect others, shall be sentenced for five years up to twelve years.
Individuals who are fully aware that they are the infected and supply blood or provide organs, tissues, body fluids or cells for transplantation or for use by others, and thus infect others, shall be sentenced the same.
Unaccomplished offenders of the preceding two Paragraphs shall be punished.
The definition of unsafe sex shall be formulated by the central competent authority following the relevant regulations outlined by the World Health Organization.
Our thanks to PRAA, The Persons with HIV/AIDS Rights Advocacy Association of Taiwan, for their research assistance to confirm current relevant legislation.