Women's voices have rarely been heard on this important issue. What happens if a woman does not disclose her HIV-positive status to a sexual partner? How does criminalization impact HIV-positive women in Canada, who are trying to live their lives in the shadow of stigma and fear? Does the law actually protect women's health? How do women feel about their experience with the criminal law with respect to HIV non-disclosure?

Positive Women: Exposing Injustice takes the audience into the hearts and minds of four positive women bravely speaking out on this important issue.

minalization: What's the Issue?

The HIV Legal Network (formerly the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network) is extremely concerned about the increase and severity of criminal charges for non-disclosure of one’s HIV-positive status to a sexual partner. As of today, Canadian criminal law requires people living with HIV to tell their partner that they are positive before having sex that involves a "significant risk" of transmitting the virus. More than 130 people living with HIV have been charged in less than 15 years — yet this includes numerous cases in which sex posed no significant risk of HIV transmission. This is a miscarriage of justice. This misuse of the law also contributes to a climate of anxiety, fear, stigma and misinformation that undermines HIV counseling, education and prevention efforts — and puts all Canadians at greater risk.

People should not be criminalized for engaging in consensual sex, just because they are HIV-positive. We envision a world where the law seeks to protect and uphold the human rights of all people, including those living with HIV, and is guided by the best available scientific evidence, not assumptions, prejudice or fear.

 On October 5, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada rendered its decisions in two landmark cases on this issue, R v. Mabior and R v. DC. In fact, DC tells the disturbing story of her very personal experience with the law in Positive Women: Exposing Injustice. The Court’s decisions in these two appeal cases have profound implications not only for people living with HIV, but also for Canadian public health, police practice and our criminal justice system. Read more at www.hivlegalnetwork.ca/criminalization.