Last updated on: 7 July 2012

Criminalisation of HIV transmission/exposure

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

PANAMA PENAL CODE / Law 14, May 18, 2007

TITLE IX - Chapter IV - Articles 302 and 305



Key wording in the law: 

PANAMA PENAL CODE / Law 14, May 18, 2007 (Unofficial translation)

TITLE IX - Chapter IV


ARTICLE 302: Those who propagate a dangerous illness or contagious to humans or violates the sanitary measures taken by the competent authorities to prevent the introduction or spread of disease will be punished with a prison sentence of four to six years. If this is a contagious disease, the penalty shall be ten to fifteen years in prison.

ARTICLE 305: When any of the acts described in previous articles were committed by guilt, punishment applicable will be as follows:

1. In the case of Articles 298 and 302, imprisonment of one to two years.

2. In the case of Articles 299 and 301, imprisonment of six months to one year.

Original Spanish Version

Código Penal Panamá / Ley No. 14 de 18 de mayo de 2007.


Capítulo IV


ARTÍCULO 302: Quien propague una enfermedad peligrosa o contagiosa para las personas o infrinja las medidas sanitarias adoptadas por las autoridades competentes para impedir la introducción o propagación de una enfermedad será sancionado con prisión de cuatro a seis años. Si se trata de una enfermedad contagiosa, la pena será de diez a quince años de prisión.

ARTICULO 305: Cuando alguno de los hechos previstos en los artículos anteriores fuera cometido por culpa, la sanción

aplicable será la siguiente:

1. En el caso de los artículos 298 y 302, prisión de uno a dos años.

2. En el caso de los artículos 299 y 301, prisión de seis meses a un año.


The text refers the propagation of a dangerous or contagious illness, and the violation of authority measures to prevent the spread of an illness. Literally, HIV is not a contagious illness.

The article 34 of Law 3, Jan. 5th, 2000, about STI, HIV and AIDS, obligate to people living with HIV to communicate their situation to contacts and people in risk of "contagious".


Survey respondents/Organisations working on HIV and the Law: 

Numbers of people living with HIV: 2008 Report on the global AIDS epidemic, UNAIDS/WHO, July 2008.

Thankfulness: 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.

Grupo Génesis Panamá +

Defensoría del Pueblo de Panamá

Other laws and policies with an impact on responses to HIV

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

Author’s note: the information provided by the U.S. Department of State is likely to be outdated.

Some HIV/AIDS entry restrictions exist for visitors to and foreign residents of Panama. Panamanian immigration does not require an HIV/AIDS test, however Panamanian law does allow for the deportation of immigrants upon discovery of HIV positive status. The Panamanian Embassy is not aware of any American citizens who have been deported due to HIV/AIDS.

All quoted requirements were removed from legislation in January 2000 and in 2008 respectively. The authorities still require a “certificate of good health” from people intending to stay in Panama for more than three months. This certificate can be issued to a person living with HIV.

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

For updated information, please go to: