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.
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.
Print and web media
Articles in Positive Living Magazine: This series of articles provides history of HIV non-disclosure in Canada, offers policy alternatives, and describes the work Positive Living BC is leading.
- Fighting words: Support the campaign to end unjust prosecutions of HIV non-disclosure in BC (September/October 2014, page 5)
- STOP: Stop unjust prosecutions of HIV non-disclosure – Part 1 (October 2014, page 16)
- STOP: Stop unjust prosecutions of HIV non-disclosure – Part 2 (November/December 2014, page 23)
Transmission Control: HIV non-disclosure laws do more harm, The Walrus Magazine, by Miranda Elliott (2015). This article explores how current laws around HIV non-disclosure may not in fact prevent HIV transmission, but rather promote it by discouraging testing and impeding the work of the treatment as prevention program.
The Origins and Future of HIV Disclosure Laws, Extra Magazine, by Chris Dupuis (2015). A review of Alison Duke’s film, Consent, that explores the history and future of Canadian HIV disclosure laws, through interviews with experts on the subject.
Canadian Law Amplifies Gender-Based Violence And HIV Stigma, Huffington Post, by Erin Seatter of the Positive Women’s Network (2015).
HIV Criminalization Hurts Women on Both Sides of the Courtroom, Huffington Post, by Erin Seatter of the Positive Women’s Network (2014).
Canada: In Nova Scotia, Glimmers of Hope for Science in the Prosecution of HIV Non-Disclosure, by (HIV Justice Network), on TheBody.com (2016)
Videos and Films
Sex, criminal law and HIV non-disclosure (2014): This short, two-part video series produced by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network addresses the urgent, pressing legal issue of criminalization of HIV non-disclosure in Canada, what is wrong with the current approach and why the Legal Network continues to work to change these laws and the way they are enforced.
Criminalization of HIV Non-Disclosure in Canada Video Series (2014): This series of 23 short videos by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network focuses on the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure in Canada. It covers the history of HIV non-disclosure, legal rights of people living in Canada and internationally, as well as the implications of current laws, and what is being done from a policy standpoint.
Positive Women: Exposing Injustice: This 45-minute documentary film produced by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network tells the personal stories of four women living with HIV in Canada and their experiences with HIV disclosure, the criminal law, and stigma and discrimination.
Consent: HIV Non-Disclosure and Sexual Assault Law (2015): This documentary produced by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network discusses why HIV non-disclosure has been prosecuted as sexual assault and how we can challenge this problematic legal framing which affects all people living with HIV.