The criminalization of HIV non-disclosure may undermine public health goals for women living with HIV (WLWH) in Canada. The authors reviewed a total of 23 articles published between 1998 and 2015. Evidence suggests that criminalizing HIV non-disclosure can negatively affect engagement and retention within the HIV care cascade in a number of ways. For example, it may discourage uptake of HIV testing due to fears of the legal consequences of a positive diagnosis or weaken linkage to and retention in healthcare due to concerns about violations of confidentiality. The authors highlight the lack of research on women specifically and call for further research on the barriers to WLWH’s engagement in care that result from criminalization of non-disclosure.
The Center for HIV Law and Policy challenges barriers to the rights and health of people affected by HIV through legal advocacy, high-impact policy initiatives, and creation of cross-issue partnerships, networks and resources. We support movement building that amplifies the power of individuals and communities to mobilize for change that is rooted in racial, gender and economic justice.