Opinion: Has Supreme Court criminalized HIV?

People living with the virus can be charged with sexual assault even when there is no risk of transmission


You might find this hard to believe, but no man in Canada ever raped his wife until little more than 30 years ago.

That's because according to Canadian law, a man couldn't rape his wife. As part of their marital obligations, wives were expected to be sexually available, always and everywhere, to their husbands.

And that's not all: If a woman were sexually assaulted, she was expected to raise an immediate "hue and cry." Any delay in reporting the assault had a negative impact on her credibility.


HIV Criminalization Never Made Sense

By Theodore Kerr
Understanding the history of these laws to combat them now.

For those concerned with HIV criminalization, all eyes have been on Missouri where over the past year two men living with HIV have been sentenced to over 30 years in prison for allegedly exposing and transmitting the virus to others, and a third man living with HIV was arrested for supposed intent to transmit the virus.

In discussing these cases it is often said, as if to explain how they laws came into being, that HIV criminalization was put into effect when less was known about the virus. What this logic obscures is the fact — as the history of the laws in Missouri show — that as long as there has been HIV criminalization, there have been those who railed against it. While people may discuss the effectiveness and morality of the laws and the impact they have on people living with HIV, what is not up for debate is that as long as there has been HIV criminalization there have been those who oppose it.


Canada: New film explores the impact of using sexual assault law to prosecute HIV non-disclosure

This week sees the release of an important new short film from the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.

Consent: HIV non-disclosure and sexual assault law interrogates whether criminalising HIV non-disclosure does what the Supreme Court of Canada believes it does – protect sexual autonomy and dignity – or whether, in fact, it does injustice both to individuals charged and to the Canadian criminal justice system’s approach to sexual violence.

Produced together with Goldelox Productions, with whom the Legal Network also collaborated on their powerful 2012 documentary’ Positive Women: Exposing Injustice, this 28-minute film features eight experts in HIV, sexual assault and law whose commentary raises many questions about HIV-related legal developments in Canada.


SDG SERIES: Are SDGs the Vehicle to End AIDS by 2030? Only if Driven by Human Rights

Allan Maleche

This month's UN summit for the adoption of the post-2015 global development agenda will provide an opportunity for States to endorse 17 new global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).1 The goals, built on the momentum from implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 2000-2015, will guide economic, environmental and social initiatives for the next 15 years.2


Ban on entry into Singapore eased for foreigners with HIV

SINGAPORE - For more than two decades, foreigners infected with HIV have not been allowed to set foot in Singapore. However, the ban on those entering on short-term visit passes was lifted on April 1, The Straits Times has found out.

The ban remains for long-term visitors, such as those looking to work in Singapore or those who want to accompany a child studying here, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed.

"The policy on the repatriation and permanent blacklisting of HIV-positive foreigners was recommended in the late 1980s when the disease was new, fatal and no effective treatment was available," a spokesman said.