Tanzania’s HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Act No 28 of 4 April 2008 created two HIV-specific criminal offences.
Section 47 is overly broad and vague, criminalising “intentional” HIV transmission without making any reference to the relevance of condom use, low/undetectable viral load or other risk reduction practices. In addition, the law does not address issues of disclosure of HIV status or informed consent, so a person may be prosecuted in circumstances where both parties are aware of their HIV status and agree to the act in question. Sentencing ranges between five and ten years.
Section 48 covers “spreading HIV” through medical negligence.
In contrast, an infectious disease law creates a misdemeanour for anyone who “unlawfully or negligently does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life.”
To date HJN is unaware of any HIV-related criminal cases in Tanzania.
HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Act
Part XI – Offences and Penalties
47. Offences relating to spreading HIV
Any person who intentionally transmits HIV to another person commits an offence, and on conviction shall be liable to imprisonment to a term of not less than five years and not exceeding ten years.
48. Offences relating to breach of safe practices leading to spreading HIV
(1) Any person who intentionally breaches any provisions relating to safe procedures and practices leading to spreading of HIV commits an offence and on conviction shall be liable- ·
(a) in case of an individual, to a fine of not less than two hundred thousand shillings and not exceeding five hundred thousand shillings or to imprisonment to a term of not less than three months and not exceeding six months; or
(b) in case of a health care facility, to a fine of not less than three million shillings and not exceeding five million shillings.
(2) The health care facility which is convicted pursuant to subsection (1) may be deregistered from the Register of health care facilities.
Chapter 16 of the Laws (revised)
CHAPTER XVII – Nuisances and Offences against Health and Convenience
179. Any person who unlawfully or negligently does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life, is guilty of a misdemeanour.
Our thanks to UNAIDS for their research assistance to confirm current relevant legislation.