End HIV Criminalization

March 1, 2024

In June of 2023, the Government of Canada released results from a public consultation on HIV non-disclosure laws. This document shared that 85% of participants agreed that the Criminal Code should be changed so that non-disclosure shouldn't result in sexual assault charges. Canada's legal system has yet to catch up with these findings and science. As shared by the government in 2023, 

At the moment, persons living with HIV who do not disclose their status prior to sexual activity that poses a risk of transmission can be charged with different offences, including aggravated sexual assault.  Aggravated sexual assault is the most serious sexual assault offence in the Criminal Code

YouthCO continues to call for the full decriminalization of HIV. Here's why.


Science tells us undetectable equals untransmittable— regardless of condom use. This fact comes from community research and is even acknowledged by the Canadian government.


HIV non-disclosure laws are overly punitive and disproportionately enforced in racialized communities, particularly for Indigenous and Black folks, and for positive women. These practices contribute to and worsen existing health disparities. 


These laws perpetuate stigma and discrimination against those of us living with HIV. They reinforce the idea that we are inherently dangerous and harmful. This stigma also discourages people from getting tested and seeking care. Instead of focusing on HIV care and support, this much-needed funding is spent punishing our communities.

We oppose the criminalization of our bodies and communities. Those of us living with HIV should have the choice to share our status when we feel called to and when we know we will be met with safety, respect, and care. It's time to prioritize care over punishment and end HIV criminalization.