New HIV law in Canada: Too Strict or Too Lenient?

7 Nov

This article was originally published by the International Women’s Initiative Survivors’ Blog.

A court ruling in 1998 stated that it was a crime for HIV carriers in Canada to not reveal their status to a sexual partner if there was a significant risk of transmission. Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada updated this law. The Supreme Court ruled that people with low levels of HIV do not need to disclose their condition to sexual partners if they use condoms. This was decided because “the realistic possibility of transmission of HIV is negated” when the carrier has a low viral load and a condom is used. In all other situations, HIV carriers must disclose their status to their partner. HIV carriers who do not meet these conditions and do not tell their partners can be charged with aggravated and sexual assault. 

To read the rest of my post, please go here


2 Responses to “New HIV law in Canada: Too Strict or Too Lenient?”

  1. Jeannette at 4:33 pm #

    I heard a segment of The Current this summer that touched on this very issue. To be honest, I was surprised and a little horrified at the thought of disclosure not being mandatory in certain situations. However, the more I listened to the different perspectives, I became more on the fence about the issue. I think the empowerment of HIV carriers is a good thing and this does prevent their stigmatization. In cases where there truly is a low risk, I can see the benefits. However, when I think about it on a personal level, I would want to know, even in situations of low risk, if a partner was HIV positive.

    • kylamckee at 2:56 am #

      Thanks for the comment Jeannette. You hit on an important aspect – one thing may make sense theoretically, but when it comes down to your personal decisions then something else makes more sense.

      Does your opinion change when you consider people having “one night stands” and not a serious partnership? What about sex workers, should they always be obligated to disclose their status to potential partners/customers?

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