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EATG seeks to ensure that Europe-wide standards of up-to-date scientific evidence limit overly broad HIV criminalisation

28 Oct 2013
EATG’s new position paper on prosecutions for HIV non-disclosure, exposure and/or transmission published last week recommends that the criminal law should only be used in extremely rare and unusual cases where HIV is maliciously and intentionally transmitted and that Europe-wide … More

Azerbaijan: 18 year-old girl accused of HIV transmission; UNICEF ‘alarmed’

05 Feb 2008
Two reports from Azerbaijan news agencies are highlighting the case of 18-year-old Elnara Ahmadova, who faces sentencing tomorrow for ‘deliberate’ HIV transmission. The reports are somewhat confusing, but suggest that Elnara was diagnosed five years ago, and is/was a sex … More

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Specific laws

Specific law enacted Yes


Specific law criminalising HIV non disclosure, exposure, or transmission: Yes

Prosecuted using non-HIV specific laws: No

Prosecuted using both specific and non specific laws: No

Is non-disclosure actionable: No

Is exposure actionable: No

Is transmission actionable: No


Number of prosecutions 5


Number of convictions 4


Applicable laws

Article 140 of the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic. (introduced 1999)

This is an HIV-specific law.

Both exposure (140.1) and transmission (140.2) are subject to prosecution.

Sentences range from 'Corrective Work up to 2 years' through to 8 years imprisonment.

Applicable key wording

Infection with HIV of a person.

140.1. Wittingly subjecting of a person in danger of HIV infection – is punished by corrective works of up to two years, or deprivation of freedom for term up to two years, or imprisonment of till one year.

140.2. Infection of another person with HIV committed by a person who knew [himself or herself] to be infected – is punished by imprisonment of two to five years.

140.3. The action provided by article 140.2 of the present Code, resulting in infection with HIV of two or more persons or minors, is punished by imprisonment of five to eight years.

140.4. Infection of another person with HIV resulting from improper performance of the professional duties is punished by imprisonment for up to three years with deprivation of the right to hold certain offices or to engage in certain activities for up to three years.


Our survey respondent (the Ministry of Justice) advises us that the transmission of HIV has been prosecuted under the Criminal Code of the Azerbaijan Republic since 1999.  Separate legislation is in place in order to prosecute the transmission of other sexually transmitted diseases.

In 2004 our scan revealed that  either three or four people have been prosecuted for transmitting HIV in Azerbaijan. According to the Ministry of Justice, the first attempt at prosecution was brought under an old law from 1987 but they were not able to provide us with any further information about that prosecution. However, since the enactment of the new law in 1999, three people have been prosecuted and convicted. The first of these prosections was brought in 2001. One person has been prosecuted and convicted in 2004. The dates of the third prosecution are not known.

No information was available on the gender, mode of transmission or occupation at the time of prosecution of those prosecuted.

In February 2008 what we believe to be the fifth prosecution received press coverage. Two reports from Azerbaijan news agencies highlighted the case of 18-year-old Elnara Ahmadova, who faced sentencing for 'deliberate' HIV transmission. Reports suggest that Elnara was diagnosed five years ago, and is/was a sex worker from an early age. She is accused of deliberately infecting 100 to 200 men.

To read more about Azerbaijan, check

This report is from the Azeri-Press Agency : Court to deliver sentence on case of Elnara Ahmadova accused of deliberately infecting 200 people with HIV in Azerbaijan 05 Feb 2008 17:30

This shorter report is from Trend News Agency : UNICEF Alarmed by Conviction of Azerbaijani AIDS Carrier Girl 05.02.08 18:14

Further reading

To read more about Azerbaijan, check



In Azerbaijan, the criminalization of HIV transmission and administrative liability for concealing the source of infection are examples of regulatory provisions. The law criminalized not only the transmission of HIV, but also "knowingly putting another person at risk of HIV infection". The analysis of collected data has shown that a few years ago an underage girl, sex worker, being HIV-positive, was condemned for putting a person in danger of HIV infection: she was given nine months' imprisonment, during her detention and trial her anonymity was not respected in the media, and the public actively discussed the incident. The girl was severely stigmatized and most interesting that in court there was only one person, the victim, who claimed that she had provided to him sexual services. overall, sex workers often are prosecuted or criminal proceedings for "debauchery" or "violating public order" and sent to compulsory testing for STIs.  LGBT can face the same forced testing during police raids in places of their meetings. Generally, LGBT HIV status is often stigmatized, and this is due to public anger: society is convinced that HIV is a gay disease and spreads through them.

Анализ законодательства, связанного с правами ЛГБТ и ВИЧ в Восточной Европе и Центральной Азии. Национальный отчет: Азербайджан. Зульфия Мустафаева. Таллинн, Эстония 2016


Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017