SCC HIV Ruling Triggers Anger

Back in early October, the Supreme Court of Canada delivered a ruling that triggered angry responses from HIV-AIDS advocates. The SCC decided that individuals with HIV must disclose their HIV status and use a condom with potential sex partners.

Under a new legal standard for disclosure, those who fail to disclose their HIV status are liable for conviction on aggravated assault unless the amount in their system has been substantially lowered by medication and they use a condom during intercourse.

Advocates for HIV-AIDS argue that the court is ignoring the fact that science has allowed the HIV amount in individuals to be lowered substantially, nearing zero, and that their decisions will contribute to HIV-AIDS-phobia. They say that the decisions “are a cold endorsement of AIDS-phobia” and they “will stand as an impediment to public health and prevention, and add even more fuel to stigma, misinformation and fear.”

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin contends that people must be able to engage in informed sex, and legal trends favour letting people know when they are engaging in sexual activity that could threaten their health. Chief Justice McLachlin asserted, “fraud is fraud, whether induced by blatant lies or sly deceit.”

The new standard for a charge of aggravated sexual assault is that the Crown must show that an individual failed to disclose his or her HIV status despite “a realistic possibility” of transmission. The previous standard required the Crown to prove lack of disclosure a situation of “a significant risk of bodily harm.”

For the full article from Globe and Mail:

About ZS

First year law student at the Univeristy of Victoria. Graduated from UBC with a major in International Relations and a minor in English Literature in 2012. The views expressed in the blog are not necessarily those of AdviceScene, nor the writer, nor do they consistute legal advice.

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