HIV and the Law

Laws around HIV disclosure are often complicated and can seem confusing. The history of how HIV non-disclosure has been treated in the Canadian legal system is well-documented by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. The leadership of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network on this issue has been, and continues to be, a strong force in Canada.

PAN takes an advocacy role on the decriminalization of HIV, working with the Legal Network, PAN member groups and other allies to address the unjust practices, policies and prosecutions of people living with HIV.

This resource page provides information for service providers, people living with or affected by HIV, advocates, policy makers, and others interested in understanding how HIV is addressed in provincial and federal legal systems. These resources should not be considered as legal advice to be used in individual cases. If you have questions about a specific case, please consult a lawyer.

 

International Perspectives

Expert Consensus Statement on the Science of HIV in the Context of Criminal Law Twenty scientists from regions across the world developed this Expert Consensus Statement to address the use of HIV science by the criminal justice system. (2018)

Prevention Access Campaign (U=U). Scroll down their page for resources on HIV and Criminalization. Learn more about U=U (Undetectable Equals Untransmittable)

 

National Perspectives from the Government of Canada

Attorney General of Canada to issue Directive Regarding Prosecutions of HIV Non-Disclosure Cases (2018)
On World AIDS Day 2018, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, then Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced that a directive related to the prosecution of HIV non-disclosure cases under the federal jurisdiction of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada would be issued; The Directive itself followed on December 8, 2018.

The Criminal Justice System’s Response to Non-Disclosure of HIV. (2017) This Department of Justice report explores the question of HIV non-disclosure and the law in various contexts, including public health; medical evidence on treatment effectiveness; HIV transmission risk; and prosecutorial practices and considerations. On its release, the Department of Justice made a statement that includes:

The report … reaffirms that HIV is fundamentally a public health issue. It provides a comprehensive review of the most recent medical science on the risks of HIV transmission through sexual activity and shows how the criminal law deals with cases involving the non-disclosure of HIV-positive status prior to sexual activity…. It informs an evidence-based approach to addressing HIV non-disclosure in the criminal justice system. (Read complete statement)

 

National Perspectives From Advocates

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network Extensive resources on the history of legal process and HIV in Canada; advocacy campaigns and actions; resources for legal professionals, service providers, and information for people living with HIV.

Canadian Coalition to Reform HIV Criminalization The Canadian Coalition to Reform HIV Criminalization (CCRHC) is a national coalition of people living with HIV, community organizations, lawyers, researchers and others formed in October 2016 to progressively reform discriminatory and unjust criminal and public health laws and practices that criminalize and regulate people living with HIV in relation to HIV exposure, transmission and non-disclosure in Canada.

 

Provincial Perspectives from PAN

2019

New Prosecutorial Guidelines Announced (April 2019)
The U = U movement continues to change the global conversation around HIV, stigma, prevention and the law (February 2019)
Update on The Push to End Unjust HIV Prosecutions in BC (January 2019)

2018

The Push to End Unjust HIV Prosecutions in BC (December 2018)
AIDS 2018: Summaries and Impressions (August 2018)
Update on Advocacy Regarding BC’s New Prosecutorial Guidelines (July 2018)
BC’s New Prosecutorial Guidelines on HIV Non-Disclosure Murky and Troublesome (May 2018)

 

BC Prosecution Service Crown Counsel Policy Manual

The Sex-2 Policy in the Crown Counsel Policy Manual is used to guide decisions by prosecutors on whether to lay charges in instances of alleged HIV non-disclosure. If you have questions about an individual case, please consult a lawyer.

 

To suggest edits or additions, please email [email protected].

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  • Hepatitis C (HCV) is a viral infection just as HIV is a viral infection. Unlike HIV, however, HCV can be treated and cured.  Treatment for HCV is available to anyone living with hepatitis C in BC.   Explore in Detail: Hepatitis C: Epidemiology, testing, treatment, resources HCV Manifesto Hepatitis C Treatment Options Expand in BC

  • The Evaluation News blog covers our work within PAN and with organizations in the community.  Learn about different kinds of evaluation like Realist Evaluation, learn how other organizations are using evaluation approaches, meet evaluators on the job, and find out about how you can help in community evaluation. Explore in detail:  Evaluation News blog Evaluation… Read more »

  • People with HIV can live long and healthy lives if they access to treatment and social support as needed. As people with HIV age, however, complications of aging can compound challenges of living with HIV. Concerns for people with HIV who are aging can include income security, stigma, safe and affordable housing, aging in place,… Read more »

  • Our Fall Conference, AGM, PLHIV Forum and ED Summit gathers people from across the province who share their programs and services, learn about new developments in public health, and help build a vibrant and supportive community. We also offer Regional conferences to customize capacity building-needs for different service areas in BC. After the events, with permission… Read more »

  • We offer our KnowledgeConnect webinars to reach our  member organizations as well as community leaders and stakeholders. Information is available when our viewers have the opportunity to connect. Watch for news on upcoming webinars in the blog. Follow the blog for news on upcoming webinars   Explore webinars by theme: Advocacy, Policy, Public Health Health Determinants… Read more »

  • In April 2016 BC’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall declared the overdose epidemic in BC a public health emergency.  Despite committed efforts, the epidemic continues, as overdose statistics show.  This has significant impact on first responders, including frontline staff at Pacific AIDS Network (PAN) member and allied organizations, and especially people with lived experience… Read more »

  • In April 2016 BC’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall declared the overdose epidemic in BC a public health emergency in April 2016.  Despite committed efforts, the epidemic continues, as overdose statistics show.  This has significant impact on first responders, including frontline staff at Pacific AIDS Network (PAN) member and allied organizations, and especially people… Read more »

  • Information about the law and the rights of people with HIV  Having HIV is not a crime, but law can impact heavily on the lives of people with HIV. The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network “is one of the world’s leading organizations tackling the legal and human rights issues related to HIV, and advocating at both… Read more »

  • Evaluation can help guide your organization or group to make decisions about programs, services, research, and more. Participatory research is just what it sounds like- people and communities take part in decision-making about what is evaluated, rather than being told what they “should” evaluate. Community is central to evaluation work and we can help you… Read more »

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