About the scan

Last updated on: 27 October 2014

We are driven by the need to ensure that the role that the criminal law plays is in response to the actions and behaviour of individuals rather than their status as people living with HIV

What is the Global Criminalisation Scan?

‘Criminalisation of HIV transmission’ is a phrase used to refer to the use of specific or general laws to punish behaviour that transmits or exposes another person to HIV.

The Global Criminalisation Scan (the Scan) documents laws, judicial practices and case studies, around the criminalisation of HIV transmission/exposure. It was initiated and developed by the Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+) and partner organisations in response to growing anecdotal evidence that criminal and other laws were used to prosecute people for transmitting HIV. The Scan has the following objectives:

  • To collect and keep up to date information on national or state level laws criminalising the transmission of or exposure to HIV;
  • To collect information on prosecutions and convictions of people for exposure to or transmission of HIV;
  • To provide an easily accessible ‘clearing-house’ of resources, research, and initiatives on the subject;
  • To provide a platform for advocacy initiatives.


In 2005, GNP+ Europe partnered with the Terrence Higgins Trust to conduct a rapid scan of the laws and rates of prosecution for HIV transmission within signatory States of the European Convention of Human rights. This was followed in 2008, by an expansion of this mapping exercise to include countries in Asia Pacific, Latin America and North America. These exercises where conducted in partnership with regional networks of people living with HIV. In 2009 the mapping exercise has been extended to Africa and the Caribbean, with data from these going online in December 2009. The Scan now holds information from more than 200 countries and judicial territories.

It contains country-by-country information, regional and global analysis, and analysis of the main legal and ethical issues raised by criminalizing HIV transmission and exposure.


Beyond the Criminalisation of HIV transmission/exposure

From 2010, GNP+ and its partners have expanded this work to look at how other laws and regulations are applied in a way that impedes effective responses HIV, for example:

  • Criminalisation of  same sex sexual relations;
  • Prohibiting the provision of harm reduction measures in the context of injecting drugs and / or imposing coercive or compulsory treatment for people who use drugs and/or applying the death penalty for drug offenses;
  • Restricting or denying entry/stay/residence or requiring deportation of HIV positive non-nationals;
  • Prohibitions on commercial sex work.
  • Where available, the country pages hold information on the above. 


Data collection/Methodology

This website is the platform for presenting data collected through many sources. Data to inform and complete the country pages has been collected in a variety of ways. These have included:

  • Desk research of legal databases and government sites;
  • Questionnaires sent to networks of people living with HIV, HIV/AIDS service organisations, government departments (Ministries of Justice or Public Health or the equivalent), UN country representatives, government officials, and others working on the issues.

How you can contribute…

Please tell us if the information we have on a country is wrong or incomplete. We especially welcome offers of translation of pages into other languages, news reports, details of organisations working on the issues, or news of any advocacy initiatives happening. To do this, please email the regional contact whose details you’ll find on the regional pages.