Cook Islands

Last updated on: 3 May 2012

Criminalisation of HIV transmission/exposure

Cook Islands
Whether Specific law enacted: 
No
Number of people prosecuted: 
0
Number of people convicted: 
0
Applicable law: 

Crimes Act 1969

Public Health Act 2004

Key wording in the law: 

Crimes Act 1969: Infecting with disease 

Public Health Act 2004 : transmissible notifiable conditions; dangerous conditions

 

Key Cases: 

None

Discussion: 

Crimes Act 1969 (s223) Infecting with disease- A person is liable to imprisonment for a maximum possible sentence of fourteen years who wilfully and without lawful justification or excuse, causes in another person any disease or sickness.

The offence of 'Infecting with Disease' under the Crimes Act covers situations of intentional transmission. However it is possible under this section to provide specific defences of use of condom, informed partner's consent, etc.

There have been no prosecutions or convictions for the transmission of HIV occuring under this law or the Public Health Act 2004 (described below) so the application of the law to alleged HIV transmission is, at the present time, merely theoretical.

Public Health Act 2004 

Schedule 2 Section 3(1) Notifiable Conditions

The following are both transmissible notifiable conditions and dangerous conditions for the purposes of this Act:

AIDs (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)

HIV (Human Immune Deficiency Virus)

Section 82. Responsibilities of persons with transmissible notifiable conditions - Any person who believes or suspects that he or she is infected with a transmissible notifiable condition must -

(a) As soon as practicable seek attention, and obtain the advice referred to in paragraph (c) of section 80(2), from a medical practitioner[1]; and

(b) Immediately take all precautions to prevent transmission of the condition to others, including advising everyone who is or may be placed at risk of contracting the condition from him or her -

(i) Of the fact that the person believes or suspects himself or herself to be infected

with the condition; and

(ii) On precautions to take to avoid contracting the condition.

 

Section 83. Responsibilities of persons caring for those with transmissible notifiable conditions –

(1) This section applies to any person responsible for the care of another person that the former believes or suspects to be infected with a transmissible notifiable condition.

(2) A person to whom this section applies must, while the person believed or suspected to be infected is in his or her care, take all precautions -

(a) To avoid contracting the condition; and

(b) To prevent transmission of the condition to others.

 

Section 84. Responsibilities of persons engaging in activities at risk of transmissible notifiable conditions

- Any person engaging in an activity that the person knows or reasonably ought to know places him or her at risk of contracting a transmissible notifiable condition must, while engaged in the activity, take all precautions to avoid contracting the condition.

 


[1]Section 80. Medical practitioners to report notifiable conditions and provide advice on transmissible notifiable conditions –

(1) This section applies to any medical practitioner who, at any time after attending a person, forms an opinion that the person was infected with a notifiable condition at the time the medical practitioner attended that person.

(2) A medical practitioner to whom this section applies must as soon as practicable do the following:

(c) In the case of a transmissible notifiable condition (unless that person is no longer alive), -

(i) Advise that person on precautions to take to prevent transmission of the condition to others; and

(ii) Advise that person on precautions that others should take to avoid contracting the condition from that person; and

(iii) Advise that person of his or her obligations under paragraph (b) of section 82; and

(iv) Advise that person on the desirability of counseling (if appropriate), and if that person agrees, make arrangements for such counseling.

Survey respondents/Organisations working on HIV and the Law: 

Pacific Island AIDS Foundation

Further reading: 

Colvin E (2002). Criminal responsibility under the South Pacific codes:



http://epublications.bond.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1017&conten...

Other laws and policies with an impact on responses to HIV

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

For updated information, please go to: www.hivrestrictions.org

Laws relating to same sex, sexual relations: 

Male to Male relationships: Not Legal

Punishments for male to male relationships: Imprisonment of less than 10 years

Female to Female Relationships: Legal

Marriage and Substitutes for Marriage: No law

For updated information, please go to: http://ilga.org