Last updated on: 3 September 2012

Criminalisation of HIV transmission/exposure

Swaziland, Kingdom of
Whether Specific law enacted: 
Number of people prosecuted: 
Number of people convicted: 
Applicable law: 

There is no specific law on HIV transmission.

However, there are reports of provisions in the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill for aggravated punishment for convicted rapists who are HIV –positive.

Key wording in the law: 

not available.


From the information gathered, Swaziland has no legal provisions to prosecute people for exposing others to or infecting others with HIV.  However there are reports that the proposed Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill will have provision for aggravated punishment for convicted rapists who are HIV – positive.

From a report by Amnesty International, punishments proposed include death sentences for rapists who are HIV positive. (see link to Amnesty report below)

According to media reports, a rising incidence of rape in Swaziland, coupled with high levels of HIV-infection, is fuelling a national debate on what punishment should be meted out to rapists, especially if the victims of sex crimes become infected with the disease.

An article in IRIN News reports that AIDS activists call for strong measures in case of infection through rape. (www.irinnews.org)

As a member of the SADC region, it remains to be seen what impact the SADC ‘Model Law’ will have on the current legislative provisions:

To provide specific guidance to Members of Parliament, Ministers, of SADC countries on the complex process of HIV legisla­tion, the SADC Parliamentary Forum, a consultative and advisory intergovernmental organization of national Parliaments in SADC countries, with the technical assistance of the AIDS and Human Rights Research Unit and the involvement of vari­ous stakeholders and regional civil society groups, has developed a model law on HIV to serve that purpose. The Model Law integrates the protection of human rights as a key element of an effective response to HIV.  The Model Law has no provisions allowing criminalisation.

Survey respondents/Organisations working on HIV and the Law: 

Swaziland Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (SWANNEPHA), P.O. Box 4161,Mbabane, Swaziland, +268 404 2578, swannepha@africaonline.co.sz

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

There are no specific residence regulations for people living with HIV and AIDS, neither for foreigners nor for any other people.

For updated information, please go to: http://www.hivrestrictions.org

Laws relating to same sex, sexual relations: 

Male to Male relationships: Not Legal

Punishments for male to male relationships: Imprisonment of 10 years or more

Female to Female Relationships: Legal

Marriage and Substitutes for Marriage: No law

For updated information, please go to: http://ilga.org

Laws relating to injecting drug use: 


Protective laws and policies for people living with HIV: