Costa Rica

Last updated on: 7 July 2012

Criminalisation of HIV transmission/exposure

Costa Rica
Whether Specific law enacted: 
-
Number of people prosecuted: 
NA
Number of people convicted: 
NA
Applicable law: 

COSTA RICA PENAL CODE. Law 4573 May 04, 1970. (Reformed)

PART II - TITLE I - Section III - Injuries

Article 130 - Venereal contagious

PART II - TITLE IX - Section IV - Crimes against Public Health

Articles 264 and 265 - Spread illness

 

Key wording in the law: 

COSTA RICA PENAL CODE. Law 4573 May 04, 1970. (Reformed)

PART II - TITLE I - Section III - Injuries

Article 130 - Venereal contagious

Anyone who knowingly carries a venereal disease, and contaminates other, shall be punished with imprisonment of one to three years. This can only be prosecuted upon private instance.

PART II - TITLE IX - Section IV - Crimes against Public Health

ARTICLE 264 .- Spread of infectious-contagious diseases

A term of imprisonment of three to sixteen years who know who is infected with any contagious or infectious-disease that involves serious risk to life, physical integrity or health, to infect another person, under the following circumstances: a) Donating blood or blood derivatives, semen, breast milk, tissues or organs.b) sex with another person without informing the status of infected.c) Using an object-invasive, cutting or puncture which has previously used to it. 

(Just as amended by Section 51 of the General Law on HIV / AIDS No.7771 of April 29, 1998)

(Thus amended the numbering of this article by the numeral 185, subsection a) of the Act No.7732 of December 17 1997, it passed the 262 to 264)

ARTICLE 265 .- If any of the acts described in the three previous articles is committed by guilt, will be imposed to one hundred thirty-day fine, if it is illness or death.

(Thus amended the numbering of this article by the numeral 185, paragraph a) of the Act No.7732 of December 17 1997, it passed the 263 to 265)  

Original Spanish Version

Código Penal de Costa Rica. Ley 4573 de 4 de mayo de 1970 (Reformada)

LIBRO II - TITULO I - Sección III - Lesiones

Artículo 130  - Contagio Venéreo 

El que sabiendo que padece una enfermedad venérea, contagiare a otro, será sancionado con prisión de uno a tres años. Este hecho sólo es perseguible a instancia privada.

LIBRO II - TITULO IX - Sección IV - Delitos Contra la Salud Pública

Artículo 264 y 265  - Propagación de enfermedades

ARTÍCULO 264.- Propagación de enfermedades infecto-contagiosas

Se impondrá prisión de tres a dieciséis años a quien conociendo que está infectado con alguna enfermedad infecto-contagiosa que implica grave riesgo para la vida, la integridad física o la salud, infecte a otra persona, en las siguientes circunstancias:

a) Donando sangre o sus derivados, semen, leche materna, tejidos u órganos.

b) Manteniendo relaciones sexuales con otra persona sin informarle de la condición de infectado.

c) Utilizando un objeto invasivo, cortante o de punción que haya usado previamente en él.

(Así reformado por el artículo 51 de la Ley General del VIH-Sida No.7771 de 29 de abril de 1998)

(Así modificada la numeración de este artículo por el numeral 185, inciso a), de la ley No.7732 de 17 de diciembre de 1997, que lo traspasó del 262 al 264)

ARTÍCULO 265.- Cuando alguno de los hechos previstos en los tres artículos anteriores fuere cometido por culpa, se impondrá de treinta a cien días de multa, si resultare enfermedad o muerte.

(Así modificada la numeración de este artículo por el numeral 185, inciso a), de la ley No.7732 de 17 de diciembre de 1997, que lo traspasó del 263 al 265)

Discussion: 
  • The article 130 is not a HIV specific law, however the articles 264 and 265 can be considered a HIV specific criminal law.
  • Costa Rica penalizes the intentional venereal contagious, but requires a private accusation.
  • The spread of contagious and infectious illness, intentional and guilt, is clearly sanctioned by the penal code.
  • Expressly indicates the obligation of informing the infection condition to sexual contacts.
  • Is not clear if the HIV exposure could be include in this norm.

 

Survey respondents/Organisations working on HIV and the Law: 

Numbers of people living with HIV: UNAIDS/WHO



Acknowledgement: We are grateful to Edgar Carrasco (ex-Director ACCSI-Human Rights Organization, Caracas-Venezuela) who provided the most of the laws that could be potentially used.

Aguabuena - Asociación de Derechos Humanos

Other laws and policies with an impact on responses to HIV

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

According to the immigration authorities of Costa Rica, there are no restrictions regarding the entry of HIV-infected persons or persons suffering from AIDS. No medical testing is performed on entry. No certificates are requested.

An HIV-infection or AIDS-diagnosis have no effect on the legal status of a foreign person in Costa Rica. According to the Costa Rica law, both conditions aren't grounds for deportation. There are no state measures to control people living with HIV and AIDS. On the other hand, both conditions won't facilitate the granting or extension of a residence permit.

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

Laws relating to same sex, sexual relations: 

Male to Male relationships: Legal

Punishments for male to male relationships: No law

Female to Female Relationships: Legal

Age of consent: Equal for heterosexuals and homosexuals

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