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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

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Specific laws

Specific law enacted No

Specific law criminalising HIV non disclosure, exposure, or transmission: No

Prosecuted using non-HIV specific laws: Yes

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 4


Number of convictions 1


Applicable laws

Hungarian Criminal Code: Article 170

  • This is not an HIV-specific law.
  • Only actual transmission is subject to prosecution.
  • Sentences range from 1 to 5 years imprisonment

Applicable key wording

Englisg language translation

§ (4) is the paragraph that would be used for transmission with intent:
if the causing of bodily harm results in a permanent disability or a severe damage to health, the perpetrator can be sentenced to 1 to 5 years of prison.

§ (6) would be used for negligence:
if the causing of severe bodily harm is perpetrated by negligence but causes the results described in (4), the perpetrator can be sentenced to up to 3 years of prison.

Click on the link to view the original Hungarian language version:



From the responses received, it appears there is no precise information available for the numbers of people prosecuted for transmitting HIV in Hungary.  However, the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) reported being aware of at least four prosecutions. Of the four people known to HCLU all were male with three cases alleging exposure and/or transmission of HIV through homosexual sex and one involving heterosexual sex.

HCLU represented three of the four defendants and they reported that in one case the defendant was acquitted and in the remaining two, charges were dropped due to a lack of evidence.

The result of the fourth case that they were aware of is not known and they have no knowledge of other cases though they are researching whether other prosecutions have taken place.

Transmission of other sexually transmitted infections is subject to prosecution under the same article.

Further reading

Whilst the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) does not deal solely with HIV issues their website (available at does offer additional reading material. The website is published in both Hungarian and English language versions. In particular, they have published a policy paper on HIV/AIDS within which there are some references to Hungarian laws. The publication can be accessed directly from the link below. It is in Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF): 

Latest cases and news can be found at:

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017