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Fiji: Updated: Moral, legal panic after one man linked to two women’s HIV infections

21 Apr 2008
Update: 28th April. There have been fewer than 260 HIV diagnoses in Fiji since records began (I originally quoted a source claiming fewer than 30), so it must come as something of a shock for Fijians to have to come … More

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Specific laws

Specific law enacted Yes

Specific law criminalising HIV non disclosure, exposure, or transmission: No

Prosecuted using non-HIV specific laws: No

Prosecuted using both specific and non specific laws: No

Is non-disclosure actionable: No

Is exposure actionable: No

Is transmission actionable: Yes


Number of prosecutions 0


Number of convictions 0


Applicable laws

Penal Code, Chapter 17.

Government of Fiji. HIV/AIDS Decree 2011.

Applicable key wording

Penal Code, Chapter 17: Grievous harm, negligent act.

Government of Fiji. HIV/AIDS Decree 2011. Deliberate or attempted infection


Penal Code (s 193) Negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life - Any person who unlawfully or negligently does any which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangeorus to life, is guilty of a misdemeanour.

Penal Code (s 277) Grievous harm - Any person who unlawfully and maliciously does grievous harm to another is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprsonment for seven years, with or without corporal punishment.

Government of Fiji. HIV/AIDS Decree 2011. Deliberate or attempted infection

Section 40 (1). The deliberate or attempted infection of a person by a person who knows he or she carries HIV is an offence under this Decree.

(2). Where a person who knows he or she carries HIV virus acts in amanner which in the opinion of the Permanent Secretary may on the balance of probabilities transmit HIV to another person or persons the Permanent Secretary may seek an ex-parte injunction requiring the person to cease and desist from such behaviour.

(3). A failure by the person to cease and desist from such behaviour as in subsection (2) the person shall be liable for imprisonment for a term not less than 14 days and not more than 6 months.

The law was likely inspired by a 2008 case that created moral panic and highlighted lack of legislation.

To our knowledge there have been no prosecutions or convicitons for the transmission of HIV occuring under this law so the application of the law to alleged HIV transmission is, at present, merely theoretical.

Further reading

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

Latest cases and news can be found at:

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017