Stop the criminalization of people with HIV/AIDS
For people at risk of or living with HIV/AIDS, social stigma continues to be a major obstacle to accessing accurate information, support services and care. This stigma is deeply rooted in racism, homophobia and sex-phobia, and a lack of accurate information about transmission, treatment and risks. It contributes to the extreme marginalization and discrimination of people living with and at risk of HIV/AIDS that occurs in our relationships, workplaces, social settings and our justice system.
In Canada, people living with HIV/AIDS can be charged with a criminal offence if they do not disclose their status to sexual partners before engaging in sexual activity that poses a “significant risk of HIV transmission”. The law results in people living with HIV/AIDS have a different responsibility for sexual behaviour than those without. This practice is unjust at best, and is counter-productive as a prevention strategy; it contributes to the stigma and marginalization and prevents people from getting tested or seeking support in the first place.
Almost half of all criminal cases in Canada have occurred in Ontario, with a large percentage resulting in lengthy jail sentences even when no HIV transmission occurred. Here, we are grateful to organizations like Aids Action Now, PASAN and other AIDS service organizations for campaigning and speaking out against this ongoing violence.