Positive Women Revisited

In 2022, to mark the 10th anniversary of Positive Women, the HIV Legal Network went back to two of the protagonists featured in the original documentary to understand if and how criminalization was still part of their lives. Positive Women Revisited (2022) documents what it’s still like to live with the constant fear of prosecution, and why this needs to change for people living with HIV in Canada.

Covering Risk: HIV Criminalization and Condoms

While some policymakers and courts have recognized condom use as sufficient to negate possibility of HIV transmission, people living with HIV in Canada remain at risk of prosecution for alleged non-disclosure before sex with a condom. While the law may be unsettled, the science and policy reasons are clear: prosecuting people living with HIV who use condoms is unscientific and unfair. Law- and policymakers must act to definitively preclude prosecutions against people living with HIV who use condoms.

HIV Criminalization in Canada: Key Trends and Patterns

Provides a snapshot of the temporal and demographic patterns of HIV criminalization in Canada from 1989 to 2020, also updating information on the outcomes of criminal cases. Finds people are often convicted in cases involving negligible or no risk of HIV transmission, and that criminal law is increasingly used against people living with HIV from marginalized populations.

Impact of Canadian human immunodeficiency virus non-disclosure case law on experiences of violence from sexual partners among women living with human immunodeficiency virus in Canada: Implications for sexual rights

Study measured the reported impact of HIV non-disclosure case law on violence from sexual partners among women living with human immunodeficiency virus in Canada. Findings bolster concerns that human immunodeficiency virus criminalisation is a structural driver of intimate partner violence, compromising sexual rights of women living with HIV. HIV non-disclosure case law intersects with other oppressions to regulate women’s sexual lives.

Beyond criminalization: reconsidering HIV criminalization in an era of reform

This paper reviews recent studies examining the application of HIV-specific criminal laws in North America (particularly the United States and Canada). In the wake of the development of new biomedical prevention strategies, many states in the United States (US) have recently begun to reform or repeal their HIV-specific laws. These findings can help inform efforts to ‘modernize’ HIV laws (or, to revise in ways that reflect recent scientific advances in HIV treatment and prevention).

Writing for digital news about HIV criminalization in Canada

This study examines the production of Canadian news media stories about HIV criminalization. Through institutional ethnographic interviews with journalists who produce news stories about HIV criminalization, this study brings into view that conditions of convergence journalism make it exceedingly difficult for reporters to disrupt the genre of crime stories about HIV criminalization in which stigmatizing discourses proliferate.

“Why Aren’t You Breastfeeding?”: How Mothers Living With HIV Talk About Infant Feeding in a “Breast Is Best” World (2015)

Infant feeding raises unique concerns for mothers living with HIV in Canada, where they are recommended to avoid breastfeeding yet live in a social context of “breast is best.” In narrative interviews with HIV-positive mothers from Ontario, Canada, a range of feelings regarding not breastfeeding was expressed, balancing feelings of loss and self-blame with the view of responsibility and “good mothering” under the current Canadian guidelines. Acknowledging responsibility to put their child’s health first, participants revealed that their choices were influenced by variations in social and cultural norms, messaging, and guidelines regarding breastfeeding across geographical contexts. This qualitative study raises key questions about the impact of breastfeeding messaging and guidelines for HIV-positive women in Canada.

Centering Health, Respecting Rights: A Training Manual for Police

This training manual draws on current scientific evidence and best practices related to police education and HIV and HCV health and safety training. It is intended for use by police departments to assist them in meeting their professional obligations to provide safer service to people living with and affected by HIV and/or HCV.

Media reporting: HIV and the Criminal Law

This guide is an evidence-based resource to assist journalists in Canada in reporting responsibly and accurately about alleged HIV non-disclosure and resulting criminal cases.