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HIV Justice Network presents important new HIV criminalisation data today at AIDS 2016

21 Jul 2016
Today, at the International AIDS Conference in Durban, the HIV Justice Network and GNP+ will present important new data on HIV criminalisation based on updated research from our Advancing HIV Justice 2 report. Global Trends in HIV Criminalisation (Download the … More

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

Italy: Condom use within marriage now grounds for divorce, even if one partner is HIV-positive

22 Jan 2009
Slightly off-topic, but according to reports from admittedly rather suspect sources, Italy’s highest court has ruled that a previous decision by the Vatican Court – to nullify an 18-year marriage because the husband had used condoms to prevent passing on … 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 12



Number of convictions 11



Applicable laws

Articles 40, 43, 61, 582, 583 & 589 of the Italian Penal Code Articles 2043, 2059 of the Italian Civil Code

Applicable key wording

Art. 582 Codice penale [C.p] (It.) (who inflicts a bodily injury on another that causes a physical or mental sickness to the injured person; prison term is three months to three years.).

Art. 583 Codice penale [C.p] (It.) (bodily harm is aggravated if it results in an illness that endangers the life of the other party or the harm causes a permanent weakening of a sense or a bodily organ; prison term is three to seven years).

Art. 589 Codice penale [C.p] (It.) (whoever causes the death of another person shall be imprisoned for six months to five years.).


Italy uses bodily harm, aggravated bodily harm and culpable homicide laws to prosecute both HIV exposure and transmission. Case law has established that non-disclosure before unprotected sex is considered to be dolus eventualis (indirect intention) – which is more or less equivalent to the standard of culpability characterised as “recklessness” in common law systems.

No precise information is available about the numbers of people prosecuted for transmitting HIV.  Statistical data relating specifically to HIV prosecutions is not kept separate from the data of other crimes that are punishable using the same laws. Nevertheless, at the time of the last update the Italian League for Fighting AIDS (LILA) was aware of at least 10 convictions.

Of the 10 known convictions, the following sentences were recorded:

  • 03/05/99 - imprisonment of a woman (sex worker);
  • 14/10/99 - 4 years imprisonment of a man for infecting his partner;
  • 03/07/00 - 14 years imprisonment of a man for infecting his wife who subsequently died;
  • 21/07/00 - 8 years imprisonment of a man for unprotected sex;
  • 30/06/04 - 4 years imprisonment of a man for serious bodily harm;
  • 28/09/05 - 4 years imprisonment of a man for serious bodily harm;
  • 11/01/06 - 4 years and 8 months imprisonment of a man for grievous bodily harm;
  • 20/01/06 - 6 years imprisonment of a man for unprotected sex and grievous bodily harm. (It appears that this is the only case of a foreigner convicted for transmitting HIV in Italy thus far);
  • 06/12/07 - 4 years imprisonment of a man subsequently reduced to 3 years imprisonment and a fine of € 250,000;
  • 08/04/08 - 7 years imprisonment of a man for grievous bodily harm and a fine.

Nationality of those convicted - 9 Italian and 1 Senegalese

Our respondent for 2012, Associazione Nazionale per la Lotta contro l'AIDS (Anlaids), has found two further cases.

Corte di cassazione SEZIONE V PENALE Sentenza 17 dicembre 2008 - 26 marzo 2009, n. 13388

  •  final conviction for a homosexual transmission (only one anal intercourse with an insertive HIV-positive partner)

Cribunale di Varese - Sentenza in data 23 febbraio 2010

  first step of a trial for a heterosexual transmission

Further reading

Hiv, l’arrestato si difende: Il mio compagno non era all’oscuro - HIV, arrested person defends himself.

The case (from a media report below) seemed to center on whether the complainant knew the HIV status of the person being prosecuted , or not.


Sassari, trasmette l’Aids al fidanzato: arrestato- Sassari, transmit AIDS to boyfriend : arrested

A 34-year old from  Ozieri presented a  complaint to the police that a the former partner had hidden the fact that they were HIV+. He  accused them of serious bodily harm


Latest cases and news can be found at:

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017

Last reviewed 01 June 2017