Tanzania (United Republic of)

Last updated on: 3 September 2012

Criminalisation of HIV transmission/exposure

Tanzania (United Republic of)
Whether Specific law enacted: 
Yes (2008)
Number of people prosecuted: 
Number of people convicted: 
Applicable law: 

HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Act (2008)

Key wording in the law: 

47. Offences relating to spreading HIV

 Any person who willfully and intentionally transmits HIV to another person commits an offence, and upon conviction shall be liable to life imprisonment.

48. Offences relating to breach of safe practices HIV

 Any person who willfully breaches any provision relating to safe procedures and practices, commits an offence, and on conviction shall be liable to

 (a) in case of an individual, to a fine of not less than two hundred thousand shillings or to imprisonment for a term of not less than three months or both.

 (b) in the case of a health care facility, to a fine of not less than three million shillings.


From the information gathered, no one has yet been convicted for transmitting HIV.  The HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill (2007) which made provision for the existence of the crime, was this year enacted into the HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Act.

The punishment of ‘life imprisonment’ which alarmed activists at the Mexico conference (see media reports) has been maintained in the enacted provisions.

Actual transmission, rather than exposure to the virus is punishable.

From the scarcity of media reports, it appears that the enactment did not receive much media coverage.

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

Tanzania Media industry is significantly responsive to HIV and AIDS prevention and control. So far 18 media houses have developed and are impelementing HIV and AIDS policies. There are many articles on  HIV & AIDS but not specific to criminalisation issues.

Survey respondents/Organisations working on HIV and the Law: 

AIDS Rights Alliance for Southern Africa (Legislation) - arasa@africaonline.com.na

EANNASO eannaso@eannaso.org

Tanzania National Network of People with HIV/AIDS (TANEPHA)

P. O. Box 79937  Tanzania

+255 22 2460 478


Southern African Human Rights Non Governmental Organizations Network (SAHRINGON)

P.O. Box 11393

Dar Es Salaam

Tel: +255 22 2182982


Womens Legal Aid Center – Tanzania (WLAC)

P.O Box 79122,

Dar es Salaam

Tel: + 255-22-218-3769


Zanzibar Legal Services Center (ZLSC)

PO BOX 3360


Telephone: +255 24 2233784


Further reading: 

AIDS Portal Tanzania

An article in The Citizen (30/12/2008) discusses the HIV/AIDS act in Tanzania.

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.

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: Not Legal

Marriage and Substitutes for Marriage: No law

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

Protective laws and policies for people living with HIV: