Canada’s Highest Court Rules On HIV-Disclosure Law

In a pair of decisions, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled today that the current law demanding HIV-positive people disclose their status to sex partners does not apply in certain circumstances.

The court indicated that the obligation to share one’s HIV status can be dispensed if a condom is used and the positive partner’s viral load is low. Specifically, the judge ruled that in order to obtain a conviction for aggravated sexual assault, prosecutors must prove the accused failed to disclose his or her HIV status when there was “a realistic possibility” of transmission.

Though that’s better than the situation in several U.S. states, Canadian activists are disappointed with the ruling, which they see as stigmatizing: “It is a step backward for public health and for human rights,” said Richard Elliott, executive director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. “The Supreme Court has ignored the solid science and has opened the door to convictions for non-disclosure even where the risk of transmission is negligible—in the realm of 1 in 100,000.”

Elliott predicted the judgment would stymie public-health initiatives aimed at increasing HIV testing: “It creates another disincentive to getting an HIV test and creates a further chill on what people can disclose to health professionals and support workers.”


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  • Freddie27

    I know Queerty has tried to make us oppose these laws but I don’t! If you’re HIV positive, you should have the legal duty to tell your partner before sex in order that they might give informed consent. There is always the risk of the condom breaking and by not telling, you’re taking away someone’s choice. The idea that anyone, let alone a gay rights organisation, would defend the “right” of an HIV positive person to have unprotected sex without informing their partner of their status is horrifying and disgusting.

  • thedudewhosadude


    Woah woah woah, you’re forgetting that sex involves at least two consenting adults! I was always taught you are responsible for protecting YOURSELF. Assume everyone is infected with everything. And did you read the article? In no place does it talk about HIV positive persons having unprotected sex with others. It says that if a condom is used AND the VL is low, they don’t need to disclose since the risk is so incredibly small it’s not even worthwhile mentioning.

    Now, if you choose to engage in bareback sex, that is entirely your choice as an individual, and by making that choice you accept any and all consequences that can result from those actions. The idea that HIV positive persons have the sole responsibility in protecting others is ridiculous–if you take steps to protect yourself (say for example, only having sex with people you trust) you’re fine.

    And lets pull it back even further–if you take proper steps to protect yourself, this is never an issue. Trusted monogamous partner, both of you have been tested=done deal. Trusted partner who had their last high-risk activity 3 months ago=$40 for an OraQuick at home, and done deal. Using a condom and lubrication regardless the level of trust=DONE DEAL.

    While you’re certainly entitled to your own opinion, and I to mine, I think you need to check the context of the article again. No one is forcing anyone to have sex with people they don’t trust.

  • Faggot

    @Freddie27: It is the “right” of the partner to ask if the other individual is HIV+ or not. It’s a dialogue that rarely happens. Don’t place the onus on the poz guy.

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