ACT Policy Brief - Topic Title: The Criminalization of HIV Non-Disclosure


ACT Policy Brief - Topic Title: The Criminalization of HIV Non-Disclosure

17 Apr 2023

All legal and policy responses to HIV and AIDS should be based on the best available evidence, the objectives of HIV prevention, care, treatment and support, and respect for human rights. [...] In 1998, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that people living with HIV have a legal obligation to disclose their status to sexual partners before any activity that poses “a significant risk of serious bodily harm”.1 It deemed that not disclosing one’s status constitutes fraud that reverses the legal validity of consent and considers this sexual assault. [...] As of 2020, 90% of people living with HIV in Canada were diagnosed, 87% of those diagnosed had started treatment, and 95% of those on treatment had achieved viral suppression.6 In July 2022, as part of Canada’s 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan, the government committed to a public consultation regarding the issue. [...] Criminal charges do little or nothing to stem the spread of HIV and divert resources and attention away from the policies and initiatives that make a real difference (e.g., education, testing, support services, access to safer sex and harm reduction materials, and programs to address stigma, discrimination, poverty, and violence). [...] The registry of people living with HIV as sex offenders also carries significant and wide-ranging social and psychological harm.7 Canada is the only country that approaches the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure in such a way.



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