Last updated on: 3 May 2012

Criminalisation of HIV transmission/exposure

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

There is no specific law on HIV transmission.

Jamaica Public Health Act 1985

Offences against the Person Act 1864

Key wording in the law: 

Public Health Act 1985 notifiable disease; Offences against the Person Act 1864 unlawful wounding

Key Cases: 



In 2008, a search of the Laws of Jamaica found that HIV is mentioned in three pieces of legislation:

Though there is no HIV specific law, there is a possibility that a person can be isolated under the Public Health Act 1985.

Section 2(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise require –

“communicable disease” means any disease due to a specific infectious agent or its toxic products, which arises through transmission of that agent or its products from an infected person or animal to a susceptible person either directly or indirectly, through the agency of an inanimate environment and includes any infectious disease and any quarantinable disease.

“notifiable disease” means any communicable disease declared by the Minister by order to be a notifiable disease.

Section 14 (1). The Minister may make regulations generally for carrying out the provision and purposes of this Act, and in particular, subject to section 7, but without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, may make regulations in relation to –

(a) notifiable and communicable disease, the treatment and prevention thereof and the isolation of patients suffering therefrom. 

Also HIV transmission could be prosecuted under the Offences against the Person Act 1864.

Section 22 Whoever shall unlawfully and maliciously wound or inflict any grievous bodily harm upon any person, either with or without any weapon or instrument, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, being convicted thereof, shall be liable to be imprisoned for a term not exceeding three years, with or without hard labour.

In 2010, the Labour Minister threatened that he could push for legislation to impose criminal sanctions on persons who knowingly spread HIV/AIDS. See attached media report.

Discrimination of sex workers, MSM and transgender has been reported.

Survey respondents/Organisations working on HIV and the Law: 

Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition

contact: Ian McKnight

4 Upper Musgrave Ave

Kingston 5 Jamaica

+ 876-474-8847

JASL - 4 Upper Musgrove Ave, Kingston, Jamaica

J-Flag - Jason Mc Farlene -  - P.O. Box 1875, Kingston 8-

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. Neither a medical certificate nor an HIV test result is required when entering the country.

Foreigners with a known HIV infection are not subject to specific residence regulations. There are no regulations regarding the control, deportation or expulsion of those concerned.

Antiretroviral medication for personal use can be carried. People living on Jamaica who need to import medicinal products for personal use need to apply for a permit, which is routinely granted.

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