Last updated on: 3 October 2014

Criminalisation of HIV transmission/exposure

Whether Specific law enacted: 
Number of people prosecuted: 
Min. 12
Number of people convicted: 
Min. 11
Applicable law: 

Articles 40, 43, 61, 582, 583 & 589 of the Italian Penal Code Articles 2043, 2059 of the Italian Civil Code

Key wording in the law: 

Art. 582 Codice penale [C.p] (It.) (who inflicts a bodily injury on another that causes a physical or mental sickness to the injured person; prison term is three months to three years.).

Art. 583 Codice penale [C.p] (It.) (bodily harm is aggravated if it results in an illness that endangers the life of the other party or the harm causes a permanent weakening of a sense or a bodily organ; prison term is three to seven years).

Art. 589 Codice penale [C.p] (It.) (whoever causes the death of another person shall be imprisoned for six months to five years.).


Italy uses bodily harm, aggravated bodily harm and culpable homicide laws to prosecute both HIV exposure and transmission. Case law has established that non-disclosure before unprotected sex is considered to be dolus eventualis (indirect intention) – which is more or less equivalent to the standard of culpability characterised as “recklessness” in common law systems.

No precise information is available about the numbers of people prosecuted for transmitting HIV.  Statistical data relating specifically to HIV prosecutions is not kept separate from the data of other crimes that are punishable using the same laws. Nevertheless, at the time of the last update the Italian League for Fighting AIDS (LILA) was aware of at least 10 convictions.

Of the 10 known convictions, the following sentences were recorded:

  • 03/05/99 - imprisonment of a woman (sex worker);
  • 14/10/99 - 4 years imprisonment of a man for infecting his partner;
  • 03/07/00 - 14 years imprisonment of a man for infecting his wife who subsequently died;
  • 21/07/00 - 8 years imprisonment of a man for unprotected sex;
  • 30/06/04 - 4 years imprisonment of a man for serious bodily harm;
  • 28/09/05 - 4 years imprisonment of a man for serious bodily harm;
  • 11/01/06 - 4 years and 8 months imprisonment of a man for grievous bodily harm;
  • 20/01/06 - 6 years imprisonment of a man for unprotected sex and grievous bodily harm. (It appears that this is the only case of a foreigner convicted for transmitting HIV in Italy thus far);
  • 06/12/07 - 4 years imprisonment of a man subsequently reduced to 3 years imprisonment and a fine of € 250,000;
  • 08/04/08 - 7 years imprisonment of a man for grievous bodily harm and a fine.

Nationality of those convicted - 9 Italian and 1 Senegalese

Our respondent for 2012, Associazione Nazionale per la Lotta contro l'AIDS (Anlaids), has found two further cases.

Corte di cassazione SEZIONE V PENALE Sentenza 17 dicembre 2008 - 26 marzo 2009, n. 13388

  •  final conviction for a homosexual transmission (only one anal intercourse with an insertive HIV-positive partner)

Cribunale di Varese - Sentenza in data 23 febbraio 2010

  first step of a trial for a heterosexual transmission

Survey respondents/Organisations working on HIV and the Law: 

(2008) LILA - Italian League for Fighting AIDS

(2012) Associazione Nazionale per la Lotta contro l'AIDS (Anlaids)

Further reading: 

Hiv, l’arrestato si difende: Il mio compagno non era all’oscuro - HIV, arrested person defends himself.

The case (from a media report below) seemed to center on whether the complainant knew the HIV status of the person being prosecuted , or not.


Sassari, trasmette l’Aids al fidanzato: arrestato- Sassari, transmit AIDS to boyfriend : arrested

A 34-year old from  Ozieri presented a  complaint to the police that a the former partner had hidden the fact that they were HIV+. He  accused them of serious bodily harm


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 specific entry or residence regulations for people with HIV/AIDS. Foreigners with a known HIV infection are not subject to specific residence regulations. 

A medical examination is required for those who want to work in certain professions, for example in a medical profession. The privacy of personal data is respected. 

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: No law

For updated information, please go to: