YouthCO is proud to endorse the Canadian Coalition to Reform HIV Criminalization's (CCHRC) Community Consensus Statement, released this World AIDS Day. As an organization, we stand against the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure, and the stigma and fear it perpetuates with its outdated evidence about how HIV is and is not passed.Read more
Talking about sexual health is something everyone can do! At YouthCO, we believe that sexual health is a shared responsibility, and that each of us can take action! There are a lot of options to prevent passing or getting HIV, and while we might not use all of them, we can definitely find one that fits! For those of us who are HIV positive and undetectable, taking our treatment every day can ensure that we don’t pass HIV to our partners. So whatever our status or viral load, discussing ways to prevent transmission can be one way to #resiststigma.
Thank you, PositiveLite.com, for publishing this article online here.
When getting sexy with our partner(s), we all have an opportunity to talk about sexual health. Yet in practice, many of us are reluctant to start a conversation, bring up condoms, or ask about HIV and STIs. For those of us who are HIV-positive, not having one of these conversations means we may face charges of aggravated sexual assault. In fact, last month, we have seen two Toronto-area people living with HIV charged with aggravated sexual assault, and a call for their sexual partners to come forward to the police. One of the people facing charges is 20 years old.
To us at YouthCO, this just does not make sense.Read more
Metro News wrote an article about dating while living with HIV, focused on the experiences of young people. They approached YouthCO to learn more about this topic.Read more
YouthCO opposes the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure. We believe the criminal law perpetuates fear and stigma, and further harms those of us who are living with HIV, who are people of colour, who are indigenous, who are poor, and who are part of LGBTQ+ communities. We offer a short workshop that explains the current case law related to HIV non-disclosure, and explains our firm opposition to this practice.
Tess Arguile, one of our YouthCO volunteers, created this short video based on our position statement opposing the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure.
We were disappointed to hear of yet another case of HIV-non-disclosure criminalization from Missouri this week where a young man was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Many people and organizations based in the United States are leading ongoing advocacy to oppose the criminalization of Michael Johnson. Media coverage in the United States has more details about this case.Read more
YouthCO is frustrated and disappointed at the recent news that police in Peterborough, ON and Toronto, ON have released photographs of two separate people living with HIV when criminal charges were laid in relation to HIV non-disclosure. Consistent with our firm opposition to the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure (see our position paper here) and our commitment to challenging HIV stigma, we oppose decisions by the police and media outlets to publish photos of those charged with HIV non-disclosure. The actions of police, media, and those of us who published or shared the photos of these men reveal their private medical information in a society still ripe with stigma towards those of us living with HIV. The use of these men's photos irreparably damages their privacy and presumes their guilt. At YouthCO, we affirm living with HIV is not a crime and that black lives matter.Read more
In 2014, YouthCO's staff, members and Board adopted a position paper formally opposing the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure. The position paper is available below.
As an organization focused on peer education and support around HIV and Hep C, YouthCO is strongly opposed to HIV criminalization. We call on Canada’s justice system to make evidence-based decisions around HIV and join us in working towards eliminating fear and stigma and supporting those living with HIV. The court must uphold the ideals of equality, human rights protection, nondiscrimination, and social justice in and change the current HIV criminalization law to reflect current scientific evidence.Read more