Trinidad and Tobago

Last updated on: 3 May 2012

Criminalisation of HIV transmission/exposure

Trinidad and Tobago
Whether Specific law enacted: 
Number of people prosecuted: 
Number of people convicted: 
Applicable law: 

There is no specific law. Law proposal is under review. See below.


A legislation proposal was brought to the Cabinet of the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago for the criminalisation of persons who knowingly transmit HIV to an HIV-negative person. However, as the proposal was incomplete it was rejected and referred for further formulation. (The first proposal was considered to be not clear about how the court could prove the guilt.)

In 2000, the Trinidad and Tobago Law Commission decided against introducing laws that would criminalise HIV exposure or transmission for the following reasons: creating a criminal offence might create a false sense of security “whereas individuals need to be responsible and protect themselves”; in countries where HIV-specific laws have been introduced “they have rarely been used and have often been harshly criticised”; legislation enacted “in reaction to a public demand for action, can be counterproductive because it diverts attention from underlying problems by creating the impression that decisive action is being taken while hindering the implementation of constructive solutions”; “proof and enforcement of this type of law can be difficult”; and prosecuting only people who know their status may discourage HIV testing[1].

[1]Taylor-Bassoo C Law cannot prevent HIV. AIDS Window 1, 2000

Survey respondents/Organisations working on HIV and the Law: 

Positive MSM +

Port of Spain

Trinidad & Tobago

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 can be imported for personal use. A doctor’s prescription should be carried.

Due to the lack of legal regulations, discriminatory practices and HIV testing cannot be entirely excluded especially in the case of long term stays.

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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

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