Last updated on: 6 July 2012

Criminalisation of HIV transmission/exposure

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

Hungarian Criminal Code: Article 170

  • This is not an HIV-specific law.
  • Only actual transmission is subject to prosecution.
  • Sentences range from 1 to 5 years imprisonment
Key wording in the law: 

Englisg language translation

§ (4) is the paragraph that would be used for transmission with intent:

if the causing of bodily harm results in a permanent disability or a severe damage to health, the perpetrator can be sentenced to 1 to 5 years of prison.

§ (6) would be used for negligence:

if the causing of severe bodily harm is perpetrated by negligence but causes the results described in (4), the perpetrator can be sentenced to up to 3 years of prison.

Click on the link to view the original Hungarian language version:



From the responses received, it appears there is no precise information available for the numbers of people prosecuted for transmitting HIV in Hungary.  However, the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) reported being aware of at least four prosecutions. Of the four people known to HCLU all were male with three cases alleging exposure and/or transmission of HIV through homosexual sex and one involving heterosexual sex.

HCLU represented three of the four defendants and they reported that in one case the defendant was acquitted and in the remaining two, charges were dropped due to a lack of evidence.

The result of the fourth case that they were aware of is not known and they have no knowledge of other cases though they are researching whether other prosecutions have taken place.

Transmission of other sexually transmitted infections is subject to prosecution under the same article.

Survey respondents/Organisations working on HIV and the Law: 

Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, Budapest, Hungary.

Further reading: 

Whilst the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) does not deal solely with HIV issues their website (available at does offer additional reading material. The website is published in both Hungarian and English language versions. In particular, they have published a policy paper on HIV/AIDS within which there are some references to Hungarian laws. The publication can be accessed directly from the link below. It is in Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF): 

Other laws and policies with an impact on responses to HIV

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

There are no entry restrictions for people with HIV/AIDS in Hungary. HIV tests or certificates are not required at entry. There are no controls at the border. Antiretroviral medication can be imported.

However, there are legal regulations that may influence long term stay of people affected by certain diseases. The following conditions are considered as a threat to public health: tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, syphilis, typhus, paratyphus and hepatitis B.

Citizens from the European Economic Area (EEA) and other countries intending to take residence in Hungary are obliged to declare if they are affected by a disease listed above, and that such condition is properly treated. Such a declaration is reported to the authorities, in order to ensure that the affected person is treated.

Since Hungary has been a member of the European Union and within the Schengen Zone, the same rules regulate the entry and stay of EU citizens as anywhere else within the EU.

Although there is a rule that residence permits require the availability of a HIV test result, a positive result will not automatically lead to expulsion from the country. It depends on the social security status of the person concerned - if they have a valid insurance at home, the Hungarian Social Security Fund may be willing to negotiate about providing services to the person to the account of their original insurance, provided that they have taxable income in Hungary and pay social security contribution.

There is currently a political debate going on about the mandatory HIV-testing (opt-out available) of undocumented migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

In case the authorities gain evidence that the patient is not following treatment or is opposing the regulations, the foreigner may be expelled from Hungary. It is not entirely clear how the above regulations are implemented in practice.

There is currently a political debate going on about the mandatory HIV-testing (opt-out available) of undocumented migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

There is currently a political debate going on about the mandatory HIV-testing (opt-out available) of undocumented migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. 

For updated information, please go to:

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

Marriage and Substitutes for Marriage: Equal/almost equal substitute nationally recognized

For updated information, please go to: