Laws around HIV disclosure are often complicated and may seem confusing. Our HIV and the law resources are aimed at assisting service providers and people living with or affected by HIV in understanding the laws around living with HIV.
On World AIDS Day, December 1, 2017, the Department of Justice released the Criminal Justice System’s Response to Non-Disclosure of HIV. This 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 this statement. It reads, in part:
The report, developed in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada, 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.
Once a fatal infection, HIV is now considered to be a manageable condition, thanks to significant medical advances in HIV treatment. Sustained treatment substantially improves quality of life and prevents the transmission of HIV.
The report examines stakeholder perspectives, approaches taken in other countries, public health responses to HIV cases, and criminal justice responses to HIV non-disclosure and draws several conclusions from this overview. Together, it informs an evidence-based approach to addressing HIV non-disclosure in the criminal justice system.
The report will provide valuable assistance to the Minister of Justice as she continues to work with her provincial and territorial counterparts on the way forward. Based on its conclusions and observations, she will be reviewing existing charging and prosecution practices leading to the possible development of prosecutorial guidelines for federal prosecutors. (Read complete statement)
Charging practices can differ from province to province, and we don’t know how this report will impact cases moving forward.
The resources that follow below pre-date this report, yet provide important background information on how the law has been applied in HIV non-disclosure cases in Canada. These resources should not be considered as legal advice. If you have questions about a specific case, please consult a lawyer.
The resources found here are tailored to various audiences from people living with HIV, to service providers, lawyers and policy makers. Many of these resources also provide specific information to support people living with HIV in disclosing their status in a variety of scenarios.
The resources that follow pre-date the report listed above, yet provide important background information on how the law has been applied in HIV non-disclosure cases in Canada. These resources should not be considered as legal advice. If you have questions about a specific case, please consult a lawyer.
To suggest edits or additions, please email [email protected].