Ground breaking HIV-ruling by the Swedish Supreme Court


Today (7 June 2018) a ruling by the Swedish Supreme court was announced resulting in the dismissal of a charge about HIV exposure. A man living with HIV was accused of causing danger to another person by having unprotected sex with another man. The person had well-functioning hiv treatment and an undetectable viral load, and HIV was not transmitted.

The court dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that there is no risk for transmission from a person with a well-functioning treatment and an undetectable viral load. To convict a person of “causing danger to another person” there must have been an actual risk for HIV transmission.

International criticism

Sweden has a history of prosecuting more people living with HIV than other countries. The number of HIV related convictions in comparison with the number of people living with HIV has been significantly higher than in most other countries. In 2008 UNAIDS stated in a policy brief that criminalization of HIV exposure and transmission will not achieve either criminal justice or prevent HIV transmission, but on the contrary may undermine public health and human rights. Despite the UNAIDS statement the prosecutions of people living with HIV in Sweden have continued up until now, even in cases where there have been no risk for HIV transmission.

Ending of a dark history

During many years RFSL (the Swedish Federation of LGBTQ Rights) have criticised how Sweden has been treating people living with HIV, and the verdict of today is very wished-for.

– Sweden has a dark history of prosecutions and convictions of people living with HIV, even in cases where there have been no risk for HIV transmission. At last this verdict will put an end to this sad practise, says Sandra Ehne, the president of RFSL.

Click here to read the verdict (Swedish)