Last updated on: 19 November 2013

Criminalisation of HIV transmission/exposure

Whether Specific law enacted: 
Number of people prosecuted: 
Number of people convicted: 
Applicable law: 

No information available.

Key wording in the law: 

No information available.

Key Cases: 



Respondent states that transmission of HIV is prosecuted under the criminal law, but does not refer to any specific law. Note that in Barbados, appellate jurisdiction is a matter of constitutional law. The Caribbean Court of Justice Act of 2003 and the Constitution Amendment Act of 2003, both of which were brought in force by Proclamation on April 8, 2005, effectively made the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) the court of last resort for Barbados on new cases on appeal. A short six months after its inauguration, the CCJ addressed the issue of jurisdiction in a civil case on appeal from Barbados. Addressing an objection to jurisdiction, the CCJ ruled that it had jurisdiction to hear the appeal under the terms of the enabling legislation passed by Parliament. The jurisdiction of the court was not challenged thereafter in the criminal case. Thus, it appears that new cases on appeal are now to be heard by the CCJ, rather than the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) of the United Kingdom.

An editorial in the Barbados Advocate ("Radical Action: Is it justifyable" / 07/10/2009) suggests the branding of people living with HIV. Posing whether it would it be a violation of human rights to stipulate that in order to receive state-funded medication, patients must agree to have a permanent indication their HIV status in an area that would only be visible were they to engage in sexual activity?  Further asking where does their right to privacy end and the rights of their potential partners to be protected begin? See attached media article.

From the information received it appears that the state considers HIV transmission to be a greater threat than the transmission of other sexually transmitted infections.

Survey respondents/Organisations working on HIV and the Law: 

No information available.

Other laws and policies with an impact on responses to HIV

Laws and regulations relating to entry, stay or residence in the country: 

We have no information about the existence of any restrictions affecting entry or stay of people living with HIV/AIDS on Barbados. There are no health checks at entry.

Antiretroviral medication can be imported for personal use. A doctor’s prescription should be carried.

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Laws relating to same sex, sexual relations: 

Male to Male relationships: Not Legal

Punishments for male to male relationships: Imprisonment of 10 years or more

Female to Female Relationships: NotLegal

Marriage and Substitutes for Marriage: No law

For updated information, please go to: